Brackley Beach: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Complaint Against A Prince”

Artemisia flowers
Brown in the heat
Dune grass whispers

As wind ripples the waters
Pushing against
Incoming waves

Cliff swallows shoot high then dive
Swoop low hunting
Other small things

Jellyfish pulse purple trail
Blood-red stingers
Like history

Below the rolling surface
Slender fish mouth
Liquid secrets

The bright white gulls could care less
As we drift  past
They do not budge

A lone heron first rises
Above the dunes
Then drops back down

It arcs silent from the past
Enters wordless
Into our worlds

AGG20140731
(revised AGG20150823)
(for Anne Burke)

Depth Charge: I had a lovely walk on Brackley Beach, the beach of my childhood, with Anne Burke, who possesses the amazing power to name things.  She identified the Artemisia Maritima and it struck me that the word Artemisia also appears in the Li Qingzhao poem I just happened to be working on at the time, as did other words—gull, heron, wind and waves—resonant with the scenery.

Tune: ‘*Complaint Against A Prince”
Admiring Lotuses
by Li Qingzhao

Wind on the lake sends the waves
Drifting far and wide.
Autumn deepens. A few lotus blossoms remain
With a lingering fragrance.
Beautiful beyond words are these verdant hills and sparkling streams
That endear themselves to me so warmly.

Lotus pods ripen into seed
As lotus leaves grow sere;
Duckweed and rushes fringe the bank
Fresh-washed by crystal dew.
Dozing egrets and gulls on the sand
Do not so much as turn their heads,
As if they, too, resent
My going away so early.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

李清照怨王孙
湖上风来波浩渺,秋已暮、红稀香少。水光山色与人亲,说不尽、无穷好。
莲子已成荷叶老,清露洗、苹花汀草。眠沙鸥鹭不回头,似也恨、人归早。

李清照怨王孫
湖上風來波浩渺,秋已暮、紅稀香少。水光山色與人親,說不盡、無窮好。
蓮子已成荷葉老,清露洗、蘋花汀草。眠沙鷗鷺不回頭,似也恨、人歸早。

Lǐ Qīngzhào Yuàn wángsūn
Húshàng fēng lái bō hàomiǎo, qiū yǐ mù, hóng xī xiāng shǎo.Shuǐ guāngshān sè yǔ rén qīn, shuō bu jǐn, wúqióng hǎo.
Liánzǐ yǐ chéng hé yè lǎo, qīng lù xǐ, píng huā tīng cǎo .Mián shā’ōu lù bù huítóu, shì yě hèn, rén guī zǎo.

Li Qingzhao Complain/king/grandson
Lake/on/wind/arrive/wave/vast/extending, autumn/already/sunset, red/rare/fragrance/few. Water/light/mountain/colour/with/person/close, speak/without/end, endlessly/fond.
Lotus/seed/already/become/lotus/leaf/old, clear/dew/wash, Artemisia (duckweed)/flower/sandbank/grass. Sleep/raspy/gull/heron/not/turn/head/seem/also/resent/person/go back/early.

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…”

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No more mourning doves

No more mourning doves
Blackbirds blue jays or grackles
Even the proud crows
Now avoid the neighbourhood
Since two hungry hawks moved in

AGG20140727

 

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The Answer Is No

I wondered whether
The distance from your deathbed
Had stretched far enough,
Had enough slow years fled past
To dry memory of its tears.

AGG20140723

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…”

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A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Bodhisattva’s Gold Headdress”

It is when the world’s erased,
Made blank by a winter storm,
It is then we know,
Beneath the soft, killing snow,
Seeds and eggs and cruel blooms
Plot their spring revanche.
It’s in January’s wind
We first hear the desperate,
Sad and lonely tune
The cicadas will sweetly sing
In the July heat at noon.
This is when we know.

We know happy is the corpse
The rain softly falls upon:
It was warm and wet,
Beading on your coffin dark,
Disappearing down into
The cold, hungry ground.
We cried and then laughed—a lot—
As long as we are breathing
Your love has not died,
Your world will not be erased,
Made blank by this awful plague.
This is what we know.

AGG20140722
(for Doug and Bob and Chris and Peter and Patrick and the countless others buried deep in our still beating hearts)

Tune: “Bodhisattva’s Gold Headdress”
Nostalgia

The honks of departing wild geese die away;
Only scattered clouds are lingering in an azure sky.
Outside the back-window snow falls thick and blinding,
Smoke from the incense burner rises straight and high.
My phoenix hairpin lurid under the candle’s glow;
From the hairpin pendants of figurine and flower designs
Swing languidly to and fro .

Bugles hasten the break of day,
As dawn stars fade i n the Milky Way.
Futile my search for the first blooms of spring:
A wintry chill to the west wind does cling.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

李清照菩萨蛮
归鸿声断残云碧,背窗雪落炉烟直。烛底凤钗明,钗头人胜轻。
角声催晓漏,曙色回牛斗。春意看花难,西风留旧寒。

李清照菩薩蠻
歸鴻聲斷殘雲碧,背窗雪落爐煙直。燭底鳳釵明,釵頭人勝輕。
角聲催曉漏,曙色回牛斗。春意看花難,西風留舊寒。

Lǐ Qīngzhào Púsà mán
Guī hóng shēng duàn cán yún bì , bèi chuāng xuě luò lú yān zhí . Zhú dǐ fèng chāi míng , chāi tóu rén shèng qīng .
Jiǎo shēng cuī xiǎo lòu , shǔsè huí niú dǒu . Chūnyì kàn huā nán, xīfēng liú jiù hán.

Li Qingzhao Bodhisattva Barbarian

Return/goose/sound/break/spoil/cloud/jade-green, behind/window/snow/fall/stove/smoke/straight. Candle/end/phoenix/hairpin/bright, haipin/head/person/able to bear/light.
Horn/sound/urge/dawn/divulge, daybreak/colour/circle/ox(star)/dipper(star). Spring/thought/see/flower/difficult, west/find/remain/as of old/cold.

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…”

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A Response to Yet Another Li Qingzhao “Partridge Sky”

A thing delicate, tiny,
Hidden and largely unseen,

Each autumn the cassia
blooms with unforgettable

Scent filling
The darkened
Rooms, sequestered places where

Our love—fragile and doomed—
Dying breathed for us new lives.

AGG20140710
(for MKL, on the 6th anniversary of our parting)

Tune: “Partridge Sky”
To the Cassia Flower
by Li Qingzhao

Fair Flower !
Dark, pale, light yellow in color,
Soft and gentle by nature.
Aloof and remote,
A subtle fragrance trails behind you.
What need for light green or deep crimson,
You choicest of flowers!

Let plum blossoms be envious,
Chrysanthemums be ashamed !
You are crowned Queen of Mid-autumn
At the Grand Exhibition of Flowers.
How unfeeling of the poet Qu Yuan ①
To be so cold towards you
As to deny you a place
In his masterpiece.

①  An allusion to Li Sao (Encountering Sorrow), a chapter in Qu Yuan’s “The Elegies of Chu”, in which he listed many precious flowers and plants as symbolic of men of high virtue, but omitted to mention the cassia flower, presumably out of bias.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

李清照鹧鸪天桂花
暗淡轻黄体性柔,情疏迹远只香留。何须浅碧深红色,自是花中第一流。
梅定妒,菊应羞,画栏开岁冠中秋。骚人可煞无情思,何事当年不见收。

李清照鷓鴣天桂花
暗淡輕黃體性柔,情疏跡遠只香留。何須淺碧深紅色,自是花中第一流。
梅定妒,菊應羞,畫欄開歲冠中秋。騷人可煞無情思,何事當年不見收。

Lǐqīngzhào Zhègū tiān Guìhuā
àndàn qīng huángtǐ xìng róu, qíng shū jī yuǎn zhǐ xiāng liú. Héxū qiǎn bì shēn hóngsè, zì shì huā zhōng dì yīliú.
Méi dìng dù, jú yīng xiū, huà lán kāi suì guān zhōngqiū . Sāorén kě shā wúqíng sī, héshì dāngnián bùjiàn shōu .

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…”

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Walking home after Le Soir des Monstres

A supermoon hangs
In the distance fireworks
Explode in silence
Muffled thuds following mixed
With unseen fragrant things

AGG20140712

Depth charge: Last night there was a supermoon, or “perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.” It was also my final circus for this year’s Completment Cirque circus festival, Le Soir des Monstres. My walk home happened to coincide with fireworks exploding for the International Fireworks competition. This is Montreal on a summer Saturday night.

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…”