Some leaves fall passion purple

Some leaves fall passion purple
A final declaration
Of love for this world
Before becoming the grey
Dust of memory

AGG20141030

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Now, if you please, turn the lights off: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “A Perfumed Garden”

I’m no good at healing the sick,
So I’ll stick to raising the dead,
Although my spells are weak and pale—
Moonlight on a carpet of leaves—
Worse yet, in the city these days,
There is 24/7 glare,
And spectres, like wan moonlight, need
Shadows if they are to be seen
Moving at the edge of vision,
So faint we wonder and we doubt
Our own eyes even as we feel
Their gaze upon us, gentle touch
Caress us with remembered love,
Now, if you please, turn the lights off.

AGG20141029

Tune: “A Perfumed Garden” (a new version)
A Reminiscence
by Li Qingzhao

A pond fringed with sweet-smelling grass;
A courtyard canopied by green shadows.
Evening chill seeps through
The window-curtains as the sun declines.
Suddenly there’s a creak
In the jade curtain-hooks and golden door-locks;
It’s my friends coming to visit.
Our dinner-party is not without a queer sense of loneliness,
My mind clouded by the thought
Of their leaving all too soon for lands far away.
Will the pear-blossoms help make them stay
Now the raspberries are all faded?

I recall happy days in the past
When fine carriages in streams
And horses like writhing dragons
Thronged the gate and guests in perfumed robes
Sipped tea brewed over a living fire .
Unafraid of sudden storms,
We had our fill of toasting
While we admired falling blossoms.
Now our moods are changed,
Will they ever return-
The good old days?

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

Depth Charge: The version of this poem in the book I am using is the earliest known version, which has missing characters as indicated in both the simplified and traditional text below. However, the translation is based on the Qing Dynasty version in which the editors furnished characters to fill these blanks.

《满庭芳》 李清照
芳草池塘,绿阴庭院[,晚晴寒透窗纱。□□金鏁,管是客来唦。寂寞尊前席上,惟□□海角天涯。能留否?酴釄落尽,犹赖有□□。
当年曾胜赏,生香熏袖,活火分茶。□□龙骄马,流水轻车。不怕风狂雨骤,恰才称煮酒残花。如今也,不成怀抱,得似旧时那?

《滿庭芳》 李清照
芳草池塘,綠陰庭院[,晚晴寒透窗紗。 □□金鏁,管是客來唦。寂寞尊前席上,惟□□海角天涯。能留否?酴釄落盡,猶賴有□□。當年曾勝賞,生香熏袖,活火分茶。 □□龍驕馬,流水輕車。不怕風狂雨驟,恰才稱煮酒殘花。如今也,不成懷抱,得似舊時那?

 

“Mǎn tíng fāng” Lǐ Qīngzhào
Fāng cǎo chítáng, lǜyīn tíngyuàn [, wǎn qíng hán tòu chuāngshā.□□Jīn suǒ, guǎn shì kè lái shā. Jìmò zūn qián xí shàng, wéi □□hǎi jiǎo tiānyá. Néng liú fǒu? Tú mí luò jǐn, yóu lài yǒu □□.
Dāngnián céng shèng shǎng, shēng xiāng xūn xiù, huó huǒ fēn chá.□□Lóng jiāo mǎ, liúshuǐ qīng chē. Bùpà fēng kuáng yǔ zhòu, qià cái chēng zhǔ jiǔ cánhuā. Rújīn yě, bùchéng huáibào, dé shì jiùshí nà?

 

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…”

This Week in the House

This week the powerful,
The ones used to training weapons
On unknown others,
Had a gun turned on them.
In a panic they barricaded the doors,
Furiously tapped and tweeted
And dialed their cellphones,
Then fashioned stone-age spears
Out of snapped flagpoles,
As the Prime Minister hid in a closet.

In the end none of them died.
Who did die?
An average joe just doing his job
And a mad man with a sick mind
Poisoned by religion.

Just as earlier in the week
Another average joe doing his job
Was killed by a different mad man
With a sick mind poisoned
By the same religion,
But that was nowhere near
The man hiding in the closet
So, like who gives a fuck, right?

The man in the closet
Poked his head out,
Eventually,
Just long enough to squeak
“Not intimidated,”
Before he disappeared again
To plan how the people in power,
The people used to pointing the weapons
At unknown others,
Can feast on the corpses
Of the dead average joes,
Use the memory of them
To their own advantage.
It is a dusty, old parlour trick
And they know it well.
They know how to turn it
Into Parliamentary tricks
To produce even more laws
The will decrease the freedom
Of average joes just doing their jobs,
Laws that will do nothing to help
Mad men with sick minds
Poisoned by religion.

Instead they will build higher walls
And wider moats
Between them and the world,
And they will cast their suspicious glances
Upon average joes just doing their jobs,
Anyone of whom could be a mad man
With a sick mind poisoned by religion.

We will see only the ragged tips
Of their stone age spears
Protruding from the casements,
And every now and then
The man in the closet
Will venture out to squeak
About a democracy and a freedom
That does not exist,
Not even for him.

AGG20141024

Ancestral Sonnet and Remembrance Tankas: Responses to Li Qingzhao’s “Little Overlapping Hills”

Ancestral Sonnet

Now the ginkgoes are golden,
The ash trees completely bare,
The locust half-green, half-brown,
And soon the Day of the Dead’s
Slow parade of our deceased
Will limp like our damaged dreams
Through the darkened, leaf-strewn streets,
Lines stretching all the way back
To a random single-celled
Organism’s fatal wish
To exist and so begin
The terrible rhythms of
Recombining DNA,
Reproduction and decay.

Remembrance Tankas

After the rain—remembrance
After the rain—the perfume
Of endless decay
The wan moon pulls the dark tides
Onto sleeping shores

A restless sleeper
Tossing—turning—clutching sheets
To fend off the cold
Of another dream-plagued night
The bed both too big—too small

AGG20141020
Revised AGG20150910

Depth charge: This Li Qingzhao poem sparked two poems, only tangentially ralated, but somehow forming a unified response. The first is a fractured sonnet and the second mirrored tankas. Both responses convert the season of the original, spring, into an autumn setting.

Tune: “Little Overlapping Hills”
by Li Qingzhao

Spring returns to my lonely chamber,
Once more spring grass is lush and green.
Some red plum blossoms are open,
Others have yet to bloom.
I grind tea bricks into fine jade powder
In a pot carved with azure clouds,
Still under the spell of the morning’s dream,
Till all of a sudden I am woken
By a jug of spring.

Flower shadows press at the double gate,
Pale moonlight silvers the translucent curtains.
A beautiful evening!
Three times in two years
We’ve missed the spring.
Come back without further ado
And let’s enjoy our fill of this spring!

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

小重山李清照
春到长门春草青。江梅些子破,未开匀。碧云笼碾玉成尘。留晓梦,惊破一瓯春。
花影压重门。疏帘铺淡月,好黄昏。二年三度负东君,归来也,著意过今春。

小重山李清照
春到長門春草青。江梅些子破,未開勻。碧雲籠碾玉成塵。留曉夢,驚破一甌春。
花影壓重門。疏簾鋪淡月,好黃昏。二年三度負東君,歸來也,著意過今春。

Xiǎo chóngshān Lǐ Qīngzhào
Xiǎo chóngshān  chūn dào cháng mén chūncǎo qīng. Jiāng méi xiē zi pò, wèi kāi yún. Bì yún lóng niǎn yùchéng chén. Liú xiǎo mèng, jīng pò yī ōu chūn.  Huāyǐng yā chóng mén. Shū lián pù dàn yuè, hǎo huánghūn. Èr nián sān dù fù dōng jūn, guīlái yě, zhuóyìguò jīnchūn.

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…”

Monkey No Aware #29— God and Racism

lacrimae rerum by Andrew Grimes Griffin“Racism is real in the same way God is real. They are both constructs invented to torture, enslave and dehumanize our fellow humans.  They persist because they are useful to those in power, those who wish to maintain—or increase—their power over others, those who need fictitious differences to mask real inequalities, inequities that they benefit from.”
– AGG20141016

 

To see all the Monkey No Aware posts, click on the Monkey No Aware tag below.

While We Waited for His Love: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Rouged Lips”

One-thousand strands of worry
X    Wrapping a single,
X         Absent man,
X              A single kiss
X                   In a midnight garden,
During my lifetime we’ve killed
Half the wild animals on the planet
X    —but rescued so many, many
X          puppies and kittens—
All of this happened
While I gazed out windows
Waiting for him to arrive,
X    The ice caps melted
X         And the forests burned
While I cruised online
For sex with strangers,
X    The oceans acidified
X         And the fish
X              Went the way of the dodo,
All of this happened.
While I waited for love.

AGG20141008

Tune: “Rouged Lips”
Loneliness
by Li Qingzhao

Fine rain urges the falling petals,
And soon spring will be fled
Love it as I may.
A twinge in my aching heart,
And I am overwhelmed by a thousand sad thoughts,
Secluded in my lonely chamber.

Impossible to get out of this mood of depression,
Moving from one end of the balustrade to the other.
Where is he, the one dear to my heart?
The road by which he may return I cannot glimpse,
Withered grass stretching to the farthest skies.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

点绛唇李清照
寂寞深闺,柔肠一寸愁千缕。惜春春去,几点催花雨。
倚遍阑干,只是无情绪。人何处,连天衰草,望断归来路。

點絳唇李清照
寂寞深閨,柔腸一寸愁千縷。惜春春去,幾點催花雨。
倚遍闌干,只是無情緒。人何處,連天衰草,望斷歸來路。

Diǎn jiàng chún lǐqīngzhào
jìmò shēnguī, róucháng yīcùn chóu qiān lǚ. Xīchūn chūn qù, jǐ diǎn cuī huā yǔ.
Yǐ biàn lángān, zhǐshì wú qíngxù. Rén hé chù, liántiān shuāi cǎo, wàng duàn guīlái lù.

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…”