Chu Shu-chen


I get up. I am sick of
Rouging my cheeks. My face in
The mirror disgusts me. My
Thin shoulders are bowed with
Hopelessness. Tears of loneliness
Well up in my eyes. Wearily
I open my toilet table.
I arch and paint my eyebrows
And steam my heavy braids.
My maid is so stupid that she
Offers me plum blossoms for my hair.

  Chinese; trans. Kenneth Rexroth

Chu Shu-chen, Chinese, trans. Kenneth Rexroth, One Hundred Poems from the Chinese,
New Directions, 1971.