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…”

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 “A Response to Yet Another Li Qingzhao “Partridge Sky”

  1. Pingback: 《声声慢》·李清照

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