In the Wilds There Is a Dead Doe

From the Shi Jing or Holy Book of Songs, a collection of ancient Chinese poetry written between 1600 and 600 B.C.E. (the collection may have been edited down to its present 305 pieces by Kung Fu-Tzu [Confucius]):

23. In the wilds there is a dead doe

In the wilds there is a dead doe
Wrapped in white rushes.
There was a young lady with springtide thoughts:
A lucky warrior led her astray.

In the woods is a stand of scrub oak—
In the wilds a dead deer,
Bound round by white rushes…
And once a young lady fair as jade.

“Slowly; gently, gently.
Don’t touch my handkerchief;
Hush, or the dog will bark.”

—Translated by David Bowles, October 2003

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