A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Picking Mulberry Seeds”

The cut peonies suffer
Fragrant little deaths at night
Drumming drumming—the June rain
Falling falling—in the dark

I do not know who planted
The flowering tree out front
Locust blooms—falling falling
In the rain—drumming drumming

We planted maple saplings
All around our childhood home
Then we moved—back from away
For brief visits—I can see

The maples at least have become
Everything they could and should be

AGG2014061

Depth Charge: After many drafts and re-writes, this response has fashioned itself into a pseudo-sonnet.

Tune: “Picking Mulberry Seeds”‘
Banana Tree
By Li Qingzhao

Who planted the banana trees in front of my casement,
Filling the courtyard with shadows,
With shadows?
Each leaf a heart brimming over with love
As it closes or unfolds.

Patter of midnight rain on the leaves
Haunting the pillow–
Dripping ceaselessly,
Dripping ceaselessly.
Dismal sounds, painful memories:
An outcast from the North in the throes of sorrow
Cannot bear to sit up and listen.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

李清照添字采桑子
窗前谁种芭蕉树,阴满中庭。阴满中庭,叶叶心心,舒卷有余情。
伤心枕上三更雨,点滴霖霪。点滴霖霪,愁损离人,不惯起来听。

李清照添字采桑子
窗前誰種芭蕉樹,陰滿中庭。陰滿中庭,葉葉心心,舒卷有餘情。
傷心枕上三更雨,點滴霖霪。點滴霖霪,愁損離人,不慣起來聽。

Lǐqīngzhào tiānzì cǎi sāngzi
chuāng qián shuí zhǒng bājiāo shù, yīn mǎn zhōngtíng. Yīn mǎn zhōngtíng, yè yè xīnxīn, shū juàn yǒuyú qíng.
Shāngxīn zhěnshàng sān gēng yǔ, diǎndī lín yín. Diǎndī lín yín, chóu sǔn lí rén, bù guàn qǐlái tīng.

Li Qingzhao to add/word/pick/mulberry/seed
Window/in front of/who?/to plant/banana/tree, shadow/full/middle/courtyard. Shadow/full/middle/courtyard, leaf/leaf/heart/heart, unfold/roll/to have/abundant/feeling.
Injure/heart/pillow/on/third/watch (of the night)/rain, drip/drop/conintuous rain/heavy rain. drip/drop/continuous rain/heavy rain, worry/damaged/from away/person/not/accustomed/rise/up/listen.

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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