Classical Chinese poems are almost always extremely concise works, using a few concrete images to evoke a complex and emotional response. They are often highly reliant on an understanding of Chinese history and literature, and are always very rhythmic and lyrical. Many choices have to be made when translating them. We have chosen to hew closely to the literal images in the poem while still trying to convey much of what we think was the intended meaning. Our translations don’t rhyme and rarely scan, and some meaning is, inevitably, lost. We encourage you to read other translations along with ours to get a fuller understanding of the poems, and we hope that you will comment on the choices we have made. Translating this poetry is an ongoing conversation with the past and with each other, and we invite all readers to join the dialogue.