Song of White Snow on Secretary Wu’s Return to Capital
The north wind scrapes the ground, the fleabane destroyed,
In the borderlands it starts snowing in the eighth month.
As though a gust of spring wind swept past overnight,
Bringing thousands upon thousands of pear trees into bloom.
It penetrates pearl blinds and moistens silk curtains,
The fox fur is cold, the brocade quilt too thin for the nip.
The general fails to draw steadily his horn-backed bow,
The viceroy can hardly put on his frigid armour.
A vast expanse of desert is covered with ice of a thousand feet,
Gloomy clouds hang over ten thousand miles of frozen land.
In the central camp a homehound colleague is wined and dined,
Music is played with fiddles, lutes and piccolos.
Evening snow keeps coming down at the camp gate,
Wind tugs at the red standard but it’s too frozen to flutter.
At the eastern city gate of Luntai I shall see you off,
The road ahead along Tianshan Mountains is heavy with snow.
As the path winds around the mountain and you are out of sight,
Tracks of your horse’s hoofs will be left vainly in the snow.