Somewhere in Lebanon: A Response to “Peaches of the Two-Coloured Palace”

Somewhere in Lebanon
There’s a patch of fresh-turned earth,
Everywhere the last flowers of summer
Are being blown away by the night wind.

So many friends who’d have made
Such excellent old men have died too young,
Each new friend multiplies our pleasures,
This year past, a stream of laments.

Perhaps it will fall to me
To be the old man I often see
In a cream suit, brown cardigan and olive tie,
Singular in the early autumn sun,
Moving shakily through the park—
Head gradually emptied of memory,
Each breath a slow fade.

AGG20140821
(for ZG)

Al Ziz /  الزيز

What Possible Pleasures

Peaches of the Two-Coloured Palace
Attributed to Li Qingzhao

Soft, fragrant buds of carved jade dot its stem,
The 10,000 Tree Garden is desolate in the first month of the year.
A single branch breaches the snow with blooms,
Who can be entrusted with the letter that waits south of the river?

The year before last we shared the beauty of Climb-High Pavilion,
This past year a lament, all our joys fled like yesterday.
I listen to the carefree line of song that says:
In a place where many flowers bloom, expect pleasure.

Translated by AGG.

Depth Charge: I can find no other source that attributes this poem to Li Qingzhao, and it is not include in Jiaosheng Wang’s The Complete Ci-Poems of Li Qingzhao: A New English Translation. However, it is included in the book of Li Qingzhao’s poetry that I purchased in China and that is basis of this project; therefore, I have attempted my own translation on which to base the response.

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

二色宫桃 李清照
镂玉香苞酥点萼,正万木园林萧索。唯有一枝雪里开,江南有信凭谁托。前年记尝登高阁,叹年来、旧欢如昨。听取乐天一句云:花开处且须行乐。

二色宮桃 李清照
鏤玉香苞酥點萼,正萬木園林蕭索。唯有一枝雪裡開,江南有信憑誰托。前年記嘗登高閣,嘆年來、舊歡如昨。聽取樂天一句云:花開處且須行樂。

èr sè gōng táo Lǐ Qīngzhào
lòu yù xiāng bāo sū diǎn è 。
zhèng wàn mù , yuán lín xiāo suǒ 。
wéi yǒu yī zhī xuě lǐ kāi , jiāng nán yǒu xìn píng shuí tuō 。
qián nián jì shǎng dēng gāo gé 。
tàn nián lái , jiù huān rú zuó 。
tīng qǔ lè tiān yī jù yún : huā kāi chǔ , qiě xū xíng lè 。

Two/colour/palace/peach/Li/Qingzhao
engrave/jade/fragrant/bud/soft/dot/stem, first month/10,000/wood/bleak/melancholy. Only/have/one/branch/snow/in/bloom, River/South/have/letter/rely on/who/give. Before/year/remember/try already/climb/high/chamber. Lament/year/past, Old/joy/like/yesterday. Listen/to/care-free/one/line/says: Flower/bloom/place/moreover/expect/pleasure.

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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