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The opening poem of the Shi Jing, or Book of Songs, is a 16 line folk song dealing with a man's infatuation with a woman, and using nature images to underscore it. In many ancient cultures, a poem about a common person having a crush on a common woman would not be the subject that would be chosen for opening their canonical work of society defining poetry, but Confucius saw something in this lyrical description of courtship that he thought it should be the opening poem.

Wai-lim Yip's literal translation:

Kuan-Kuan, the ospreys.
On the river's isle.
Delicate, a good girl:
A gentleman's fit mate.

Long and short, duckweeds.
Fetch some--left and right.
Delicate a good, girl.
Waking, sleeping: seek her.

To seek her and possess not--
Waking, sleeping: think of her.
So distant, so deep:
Toss and turn in bed.

Long and short, duckweeds.
Pluck some, left and right
Deicate, a good girl:
With music to befriend her.

Long and short, duckweeds.
Pick some, left and right.
Delicate, a good girl:
With bells and drums to meet her.

And from Ezra Pound's Classical Anthology Defined by Confucius, slightly less literal, but perhaps more poetic:

"Hid", "Hid" the fish-hawk saith,
by isle in Ho the fish-hawk saith:
"Dark and clear, dark and clear
So shall be the prince's fere.

Clear as the stream is her modesty;
As neath dark boughs her secrecy,
reed against reed
tall on slight
as the stream moves left and right,
dark and clear, dark and clear
To seek and not find
as a dream in his mind,
think how her robe should be
distantly, to toss and turn

High reed caught in ts'ai grass
so deep her secrecy;
lute sound in lute sound is caught,
touching, passing, left and right.
Bang the gong of her delight.

It seems that the concerns of the Chinese people 3000 years ago were not that different than the concerns of us today. This poem also manages almost a montage effect, contrasting images of the river, the plants and the birds with the images rushing through the poet's mind of his love.

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