Queer by Choice: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Joy of Eternal Union”

Magnolia blossoms barely fully out
Already begin to corrode away
x    After one night’s wind

Just before dawn they litter the cold ground
While Venus dances around her unseen
 x    Partner in the east

Just as we danced in each other’s shadow
Fucked in each other’s strong arms and then kissed
x     Under the bright lights

Once a year for a day we would parade
All whistles rippling torsos sweaty
x    In the hot sunshine

And this was the source of all our power
Full might of our choosing to come out
x    To be here and queer

And we wrote it in muscle and in blood
Then a virus came along to translate
x    Our love into dust

Now the sodomites are suburbanized
Claiming we are born this way renouncing
x    Our power of choice

And once a year we parade for a day
With our corporate sponsors and that one
x    Minute of silence

x    And in it I know
I do not begrudge the stars your body
Nor fear the silence your voice has become

AGG20140519

Tune: “Joy of Eternal Union” ①
Lantern Festival
by Li Qingzhao

The setting sun—a pool of molten gold;
Evening clouds—discs of emerald jade.
Where is he—the one in my thoughts?
Spring willows robed in hazy mist;
“Falling Plum Blossoms” wafted by a plaintive flute:
Lovely springtime—how far is it advanced?
Warm sunshiny weather at the Lantern Festival——
Who knows but it may be
A prelude to wind and rain?
My old wine and poetry companions send
Perfumed coaches, fine horses to take me f o r a ride,
But I decline all their invitations .

Sweet are memories of our old capital in its heyday!
Young ladies with time to spare
Made the Lantern Festival a special occasion for joy.
In kingfisher-feather caps and
Gold-thread jewelled hair ornaments,
They vied with one another for loveliness.
Now worn with care,
My hair wind-blown and temples frosty,
I dread going out on festive evenings.
I’d much prefer to stay behind the screen
And listen to youthful talk and laughter
As people pass by.

①  The advent of the Lantern Festival revived memories of the poet’s happy days in the Northern Song capital, the loss of which to the Tartars was always in her thoughts.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

李清照永遇乐
落日熔金,暮云合壁,人在何处。染柳烟浓,吹梅笛怨,春意知几许。元宵佳节,融和天气,次第岂无风雨。来相召、香车宝马,谢他酒朋诗侣。
中州盛日,闺门多暇,记得偏重三五。铺翠冠儿,捻金雪柳,簇带争济楚。如今憔悴,风鬟霜鬓,,怕见夜间出去。不如向、帘儿底下,听人笑语。

李清照永遇樂
落日熔金,暮雲合壁,人在何處。染柳煙濃,吹梅笛怨,春意知幾許。元宵佳節,融和天氣,次第豈無風雨。來相召、香車寶馬,謝他酒朋詩侶。
中州盛日,閨門多暇,記得偏重三五。鋪翠冠兒,捻金雪柳,簇帶爭濟楚。如今憔悴,風鬟霜鬢,怕見夜間出去。不如向、簾兒底下,聽人笑語。

Lǐ QīngzhàoYǒng yù lè
Luòrì róng jīn, mù yún hé bì, rén zài hé chù. Rǎn liǔ yān nóng, chuī méi dí yuàn, chūnyì zhī jǐxǔ. Yuánxiāo jiājié, rónghé tiānqì, cìdì qǐ wú fēngyǔ . Lái xiāng zhào, xiāng chē bǎomǎ, xiè tā jiǔ péng shī lǚ.
Zhōngzhōu shèng rì, guīmén duō xiá, jìdé piānzhòng sānwǔ. Pù cuì guān er, niǎn jīn xuěliǔ, cù dài zhēng jì chǔ. Rújīn qiáocuì, fēng huán shuāng bìn, pà jiàn yèjiān chūqù. Bùrú xiàng, lián er dǐxia, tīng rén xiàoyǔ

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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