Song of Dunhuang

translated from the Ming Dynasty poem by Yang Sheng

the sound of horns
pierces through plum blossoms

the clouds in the distant west
catch the rosy twilight

white geese guard the pass
on the purple autumn breeze

the sun’s light passes away
over golden sands

the messenger’s banner raised
signaling his trust

the chieftain’s consort
takes up her pipa

in his dreams he returns
to the watchtower

waking, his tears
fill the skies to overflowing

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a teacher, writer, researcher, and translator. She is the author of six volumes of poetry and a pair of travel guides for the cities of Suzhou and Shanghai. She has translated work from the Chinese for Penguin Books, Epigram Publishing, the National Library Board in Singapore, Giramondo Books, and Rinchen Books. Shelly’s poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions. Her translation of Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2012. You can visit her website at

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Song of Dunhuang

  1. So lovely! I love this poem!

  2. Pingback: Song of Dunhuang | My BlogThe Philosopher's blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.