Summer Solstice: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Airing Innermost Feelings”

Today’s the longest day of the year;
Here is some of what you missed:
A park full of birdsong
And roses in full bloom.

Tonight’s the shortest night of the year,
Barely time for one broken dream
Of your arms enfolding me before
The scent of roses in full bloom
Troubled the empty dark
Of the open window
With an absence
Of your gentle breath.


Depth charge: Just a note on the incredible compactness of Classical Chinese. In the line月依依, the first character is the word “moon” but the last two characters can mean “to regret leaving,” “to be reluctant to part,” or be an onomatopoetic representation of “young leaves stir gently in the wind.”

Tune: “Airing Innermost Feelings”
By Li Qingzhao

Last night, dead drunk, I dawdled
While undoing my coiffure,
And fell asleep with a sprig of
Faded plum blossom in my hair.
The fumes of wine gone,
I was woken out of my spring sleep
By the pungent smell of the petals,
And my sweet dream of far-off love
Was broken beyond recall.

Now all voices are hushed.
The moon lingers and softly spreads her beams
Over the unfurled kingfisher-green curtain.
Still, I twist the fallen petals,
I crumple them for their lingering fragrance,
I try to recapture a delicious moment.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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



Lǐ Qīngzhào sù zhōng qíng
yè lái shěn zuì xiè zhuāng chí , méi è chā cán zhī 。
jiǔ xǐng xūn pò chūn shuì , mèng yuǎn bù chéng guī 。
rén qiǎo qiǎo , yuè yī yī , cuì lián chuí 。
gēng nuó cán ruǐ , gēng niǎn yú xiāng , gēng dé xiē shí 。

Li Qingzhao To tell/inner feellins/feelings
Night/arrive/deep/intoxicated/remove/makeup/delayed, plum/stem/stuck/ruin/branch.
Wine/awaken/fragrance/break/spring/sleep, dream/distant/not/able/return.
People/quiet/silent, moon/regret/leaving, bluish-green/curtain/hangs.
Still/crumple/ruin/stamen, still/twirl in fingers/extra/fragrant, still/to get/some/time.

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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