I made my home amidst this human bustle,
Yet I hear no clamour from the carts and horses.
My friend, you ask me how this can be so?
A distant heart will tend towards like places.
From the eastern hedge, I pluck chrysanthemum flowers,
And idly look towards the southern hills.
The mountain air is beautiful day and night,
The birds fly back to roost with one another.
I know that this must have some deeper meaning,
I try to explain, but cannot find the words.
The wind returns; my little courtyard is green and overgrown,
The willows seem to have grown again this spring.
I lean for a long time on the railings; alone, without a word,
The sound of bamboo and the new moon are just like in days gone by.
The playing and singing have not yet ceased; the wine cups remain,
The ice on top of the pool begins to melt.
Bright candles and a faint fragrance are deep in the painted hall,
It's hard to think I must allow my temples all to turn white.
The east wind blows over the water, the sun sits by the hill,
Though spring has come, the idleness persists.
Fallen blossom is scattered amid wine and tinkling pendants by the rail,
She listens to playing and singing in a drunken daze.
The pendants are now silent, her evening wear undone,
For what man's sake is she to dress her hair?
Her fair appearance too will pass as time slips by,
At dusk, she leans alone upon the railing.
Who can explain why we love it- West Lake is good.
The beautiful scene is without time,
Flying canopies chase each other,
Greedy to be among the flowers, drunk, with a jade cup.
Who can know I'm idle here, leaning on the rail.
Fragrant grass in slanting rays,
Fine mist on distant water,
One white egret flying from the Immortal Isle.
Across the world this June, the petals all have fallen,
But the mountain temple's peach blossom has just begun to bloom.
I regretted so much that spring had gone without a trace,
I didn't know that it had only moved up here.
(Bai Juyi)(An appreciation of the late winter beauty of the Lan Su Chinese Garden and a lovely day spent there with my little daughter.