Night Screens (Tune: Lantern Festival by Xin Qiji)

Night Screens_20140214

Night Screens
(Tune: Lantern Festival by Xin Qiji)

Each night the computer screens
x               burst into flowering
x               men like falling stars.
Cologne fills the streets, BMWs and buses
x                move with competing rhythms.
Private music fills headphones,
x               ten thousand thumbnails
x               dance across cellphones.
Faces obscured by flashes of light
x               meld into electronic musk.
In this multitude I search for him,
x               compulsively, knowing
x               on certain nights, unannounced,
He walks across the shadows of my doorstep.

AGG22040216

Depth Charge: This year St Valentine’s Day and the Chinese Lantern Festival, Yuan Xiao, 元宵, coincided. Although it has ancient roots and many associations, the Lantern Festival, which falls on the first full moon after Chinese New Year, also has a romantic association. One of the most famous poems on the subject is Tune: Green Jade Cup—Lantern Festival by Xin Qiji, 辛弃疾 (1140-1207). Xin’s poem is a ci, 词, which were written to tunes—now lost—which are always mentioned in the titles. I have decided to make Xin’s poem my “tune” for an ode to online cruising.

青玉案·元夕
辛弃疾

东风夜放花千树,
x      更吹落,
x      星如雨。
宝马雕车香满路。
凤箫声动,
x     玉壶光转,
     一夜鱼龙舞。
蛾儿雪柳黄金缕,
x     笑语盈盈暗香去。
众里寻他千百度,
x     蓦然回首,
x     那人却在,
x     灯火阑珊处。

Tune: Green Jade Cup·Lantern Festival
by Xin Qiji

One night’s wind made a thousand trees burst into flower,
x               And breath down still more
x               Showers of fallen stars.
Splendid horses, carved carriages, fragrance filled the road.
Music resounded from paired flutes,
x               Light swirled on water-clock towers.
x               All night long, the fabled fish-dragons danced.
Gold-threaded jacket, moth- or willow-shaped hair ornaments
x               Melted into the throng, giggling, a trail of scents.
In the crowd I looked for her a thousand and one times,
x               And all at once, as I turned my head,
x               I was startled to find her
x               Among the lanterns where the candles were growing dim.

Translated by Irving Y. Lo  from Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry

Here is all the ci/词 and responses to it on this blog.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

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One thought on “Night Screens (Tune: Lantern Festival by Xin Qiji)

  1. Pingback: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Joy of Eternal Union”: Gay Pride | tankawanka

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