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

(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.



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…”

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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