My Dream on the Night of the Lantern Festival 1

Jiang, Kui (1152 A.D.-1220 A.D.)

    The Fei River 2 flows endlessly eastward. Our separation from an argument has seeded the yearning between you and me 3. The image of you in my dream was not as real as you are in person. Suddenly I was awakened in the dark by the cries of mountain birds. The Spring is not yet green. My hair has already become gray. We have been parted for so long that I have almost become indifferent. Why do we have to mutter to ourselves in two places on the night of red lotuses 4 every year?

1 The Lantern Festival occurs on the full moon, the 15th day, of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar. On this evening people light lanterns, watch parades, answer riddles, write poems, and eat stuffed dumplings served in soup to celebrate the festival.

2 Peaceful China says, "The Fei River originates from southeast side of Lan-ja Mountain, which is sixteen miles southwest of He-fei City. It flows into Lake Chao."

3 Before Jiang was thirty, he traveled along the Yangtze River and Hui River. This poem undoubtedly showed that he met a beautiful woman at He-fei City.

4 "Red lotuses" refers to "lanterns".