TZU-YEH is the legendary
wineshop girl of the 4th
Century C.E. who is
supposed to have written
her own songs. Whether
or not there was such a
girl, a Tzu-Yeh tradition
developed out of these
sexy, down-to-earth folk
materials, and many later
poets tried their hands at
them. No one knows
exactly when or where the
example translated here
originated—perhaps with
Tzu-Yeh herself, the “sing-
song girl.”
Taylor Stoehr

A night bird calls
from the bamboo,

fallen petals
fill the paths.

A girl strolling
in the moonlight

trails her silk skirt
in the grass.


Quarrelsome cuckoos
greet the sunrise,

swallows take up
the morning song.

Skirts dragging
in the wet grass,

I’ve waited for him
all night long.
A Girl Strolling
Translated from the Classical Chinese
by Taylor Stoehr
Taylor Stoehr's poems and translations
have appeared in the Harvard Review,
Agni, Nimrod, Rhino and many other
journals. His translation of classical
Chinese poetry, "I Hear My Gate Slam:
Chinese Poets Meeting and Parting," is
now in its second printing by Pressed
Wafer. "Ask the Wolf," his translations
from the medieval French of convict-poet
Francois Villon, was published by Unicorn
Press. He has authored six other books
on literary and cultural subjects and has
edited numerous volumes of the
writings of Paul Goodman and George
Dennison, radical public intellectuals of
the Sixties.

Taylor co-founded and teaches in
"Changing Lives Through Literature," an
alternative sentencing program at
Dorchester District Court and also
teaches in the English department at
University of Massachusetts Boston.
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