Song of Incense
We visited the riverside village hand in hand,
Letting snow-like mume flowers on silk dress fall.
How can I stand
The soul-consuming fairy land!
Now separated from you for years long,
Hearing the same old song,
Can I forget the lakeside hall,
The temple on the Lonely Hill
And Golden Gate waves overfill?
Wherever we went on whatever day,
We have written a thousand lines.
The silken sleeves would sweep the dust away.
Since we parted, who
Would often think of you?
The moon which on the lake shines,
The lakeside willow trees,
The cloud and breeze.
This lyric describes the poet’s friendship with a friend in Hangzhou.
“Song of Incense” is a lyric composed by Su Shi, a writer of the Northern Song Dynasty. It expresses Su Shi’s nostalgic feelings for his poet friend in Hangzhou. The first stanza starts with a breakup and goes on to write about his despondent feelings when he remembers his deceased friend; the second stanza recalls the scene when he was having fun with his friend and then expresses his feelings of longing. The memory of the person and the scene merge into one, with deep emotion and poetic meaning.