A visit to the Temple of Auspicious Fortune, alone at Winter Solstice
(translated by William P. Coleman)
Could warmth ever come again to the deep well bottom?
The cold, sighing rain has drenched all the withered roots.
Who besides me would likely visit the teacher —
when there are no flowers — be willing to come alone?
I found the Chinese text and an English translation of this poem — along with the word-by-word literal translation I used to create this one — at Chinese Poems.
The grammar of Chinese allows poets to leave interpretive choices open, and it’s an unattainable ideal of translating to bring out possibilities without closing others. I try to use my sense of English to at least intrigue you. If I’ve succeeded, it’s best — even if you don’t know Chinese, which I don’t either — to follow up at the source I cite above and see the original word-by-word translation from which I worked. It’ll be richer than what I’ve given you. To understand the poem best, try to construct your own translation.