THE TWO RED TOWERS
(A Satire against Clericalism)
The Two Red Towers
North and south rise facing each other.
I beg to ask, to whom do they belong?
To the two Princes of the period Cheng Yüan.*
The two Princes blew on their flutes and drew down fairies from the sky,
Who carried them off through the Five Clouds, soaring away to Heaven.
Their halls and houses, that they could not take with them.
Were turned into Temples planted in the Dust of the World.
In the tiring-rooms and dancers' towers all is silent and still ;
Only the willows like dancers' arms, and the pond like a mirror.
When the flowers are falling at yellow twilight, when things are sad and hushed.
One does not hear songs and flutes, but only chimes and bells.
The Imperial Patent on the Temple doors is written in letters of gold ;
For nuns' quarters and monks' cells ample space is allowed.
For green moss and bright moonlight — plenty of room provided;
In a hovel opposite is a sick man who has hardly room to lie down.
I remember once when at P'ing-yang they were building a great man's house
How it swallowed up the housing space of thousands of ordinary men.
The Immortals^ are leaving us, two by two, and their houses are turned into Temples;
I begin to fear that the whole world will become a vast convent.
* Hsien Tsung's brothers?