Shangguan Wan’er: Reproach in a Letter on Colored Paper ~ 《彩书怨》 上官婉儿 with English Translations


《彩书怨》 上官婉儿


Reproach in a Letter on Colored Paper
Shangguan Wan’er

When first leaves fall on Lake Dongting,
I long for you, thousands of miles away.
In heavy dew my scented quilt feels cold,
At moonset, brocade screen deserted.
I would play a Southland melody
And crave to seal a letter to Jibei(1).
The letter has no other message but
This misery in living long apart.

1. Jibei, in the far northeastern corner of China, represents a region of frontier warfare, thus suggesting a woman writing to her husband away in the army.

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