The streets were thick with the essence of spring that year
We drove our horses together in the dream-like mist of rain
Sheltered under the eaves
I gazed into a pair of deep set eyes
It was like the mountain breeze laced with fine feathery snow.
Threads of rain fell cool upon the skin
Shrouded by the subtle sweet scent in the wind
A sudden shudder struck my heart, like the gentle dance of your blade
Whirling past with the graceful flair of geese taking flight.
Is it true that words of love ultimately ring hollow, weighing miserly offerings with its every stroke
Humbling oneself just for another's smile
Or be doomed in obscurity
You took me in your embrace, under the umbrella you held
How solemn was every single word in your promise
Myriad forms of doting kindness resided in your eyes
Akin to the murmuring spring’s breeze, melting away frost and snow.
Later came our reunion at a banquet
A fair lady by your side, while red candles cast wavering shadows
Their soft, lingering lights
Reflected handsome visages out of an artist’s fantasy
Like the pleasant old dream perched upon the branches of my youth
You graced me with no signs of recognition
A sudden turmoil stirred in me
Your robe, white as ever, but you, shades colder with indifference
Who could fathom my terror within?
Perhaps I should have feigned drunken insanity
Lended your embrace, left upon it a red mark with my lips
Then sing, in slow beats, our story, our history
And let onlookers startle and gasp as they will.
But all I managed were false smiles and forced graces
While listening to those loving exchanges within earshot
I avoided your familiarity
and sipped wine in silence; you see how unmoved I am?
Beyond the door, atop the mountain, snowflakes swept past my white robe, then dissolved on my fingertips
Armed with a long sword, I asked, amidst this big, wide world, where ought I go?
To have turned into a joke that even I myself jeer at
It had always been my wishful longings, cursed with a beginning without an end.
If your heart had been long bound with another
Why entice me to misplace mine
Had it been my helplessness in your presence that drew you in?
I count myself fortunate for the years wandering this mortal world
For this heart has borne wounds in hundreds and thousands
Do I fear that heartless blade you wield, adding only one to the many?
Not that it hurts at all.
Why not bury the past in the wind
Let my sword be my headstone, and snow build my burial mound
If it was a wrong for us to have met one another
I can only pray for a kindly end.
Alone, I rode past the old bridge of that southern town
Right when mountain rains raised its cloudy mist
I recalled that gentle embrace beneath the umbrella
Like a dream conjured as I lie atop the bridge
To which I’ve awoken from before falling off, shatter to dust, and vanish without a trace