Among the earthly mortals, I ask: what is Love
That engages couples through life and death?
This flying pair, travelling from south to north,
Had old wings, which survived several summers and winters.
Staying paired is happy,
But to sever, bitter: a trap in itself where devoted lovers
Still long to be trapped. He must have had a thought:
For whom shall I trail a forlorn shadow flying over
Ten thousand miles of grey clouds
And mountains of night snow?
On this road by Fen River, the old pipes and drums
Are gone. Only bleak smoke and vast woods are left.
Vain to evoke the ancient ghosts. The Mountain Spirit
Also wails in vain. Heaven envies the geese,
Not believing they’ll return to dust like orioles
And swallows. There they’ll remain, for a thousand
Autumns, awaiting the poets of later generations
Who are coming, rhapsodizing and quaffing
Just for a view of the wild geese tomb,
In the fifth year of Taihe, Yuan Haowen went to Bingzhou to attend an imperial examination. On the way a bird hunter said to him that, he caught a wild goose and killed it. Its partner kept soaring, wailing above and finally killed itself by plunging on the ground. When hearing this touching thing, the poet buried the pair of geese beside the Fen River and named it “The Wild Geese’s Tomb”, he then composed this poem to praise their loyal love.