As for what remains: A Response to “Spring at Wuling” by Li Qingzhao

As for what remains—
An expanding universe
Doesn’t count for much—
It’s vastness still can’t contain
Our happiness grief and pain

AGG20141218

Tune: “Spring at Wu Ling” ①
by Li Qingzhao

The wind has subsided,
Faded all the flowers:
In the muddy earth
A lingering fragrance of petals.
Dusk falls. I’m in no mood to comb my hair.
Things remain, but all is lost.
Now he’s no more.
Tears choke my words.

I hear “Twin Brooks'” is still sweet②
With the breath of spring.
How I’d, too, love to go for a row,
On a light skiff.
I only fear at “Twin Brooks” my grasshopper of a boat
Wouldn’t be able to bear
Such a load of grief.

① Written in 1135, six years after her husband’s death, when Li Qingzhao was living at Jinhua in today’s Zhejiang Province as a temporary refuge from the Jin invasion.
②A stream in the southeast of Jinhua often visited by poets in Tang and Song times as a scenic resort.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

武陵春·李清照
风住尘香花已尽,日晚倦梳头。物是人非事事休,欲语泪先流。
闻说双溪春尚好,也拟泛轻舟。只恐双溪舴艋舟,载不动许多愁。

Wǔlíng chūn·Lǐ Qīngzhào
Fēng zhù chén xiānghuā yǐ jìn, rì wǎn juàn shūtóu. Wù shì rén fēi shì shì xiū, yù yǔ lèi xiān liú.
Wén shuō shuāng xī chūn shànghǎo, yě nǐ fàn qīngzhōu. Zhǐ kǒng shuāng xī zé měng zhōu, zài bù dòng xǔduō chóu

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