Hard Bargain : A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “The Lone Wild Goose”

The stars and I have struck a hard bargain,
Harder than Hector’s beautiful thick cock,
More enduring than Franco’s erection,
Bitter sweet still than any load of cum,
Impossible to break, unlike our loves,
Which we all know, or will know, easily
End, well or not, but all the same just end,
And in this bargain the dead stars become,
My living flesh, seeing eyes, consciousness,
And in return I promise to look up
In amazement through love with gratitude
That I can be briefly born on this earth
From the flower of their heavenly deaths
And with such beautiful men mingle breath.

AGG20150227
for MasterFranco and toscano111

Tune: “The Lone Wild Goose”
Plum Blossoms
by Li Qingzhao
Prefatory Note. People tend to be vulgar as soon as they start writing a ci-poem about the plum. Of this I was unauare till I had made an attempt myself.

Paper bed-curtains,
A couch of rattan.
No pleasant thoughts ease a troubled mind
When my morning sleep ends. Sandalwood incense burning fitfully,
The jade censer fallen cold–
Companion to my feelings thin as water. A flute playing “Falling Plum Blossms” three times over
Startles the plum-trees into sudden bloom,
And the air is filled with all the sweetness of spring.

Fine rain, gusty wind:
Lugubrious sounds once more urge
A thousand lines of tears.
Gone is the flute-player,
Deserted the jade tower
Nobody now shares with one broken-hearted.
I pluck a spray of bloom,
But who can I send it to,
The two of us now so far apart–
In Heaven and on Earth?

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

孤雁儿·李清照
(世人作梅词,下笔便俗。予试作一篇,乃知前言不妄耳。)

藤床纸帐朝眠起,说不尽无佳思。沈香断续玉炉寒,伴我情怀如水。笛声三弄,梅心惊破,多少春情意。
小风疏雨萧萧地,又催下千行泪。吹箫人去玉楼空,肠断与谁同倚。一枝折得,人间天上,没个人堪寄。

Gūyàn er  · Lǐ Qīngzhào
(shìrén zuò méi cí, xiàbǐ biàn sú. Yǔ shì zuò yī piān, nǎi zhī qiányán bù wàng ěr.)

Téng chuáng zhǐ zhàng cháo mián qǐ , shuō bu jìn wú jiā sī . Chénxiāng duàn xù yù lú hán , bàn wǒ qínghuái rúshuǐ. Dí shēng sān nòng , méi xīn jīng pò , duōshǎo chūn qíngyì .
Xiǎo fēng shū yǔ xiāoxiāo de , yòu cuī xià qiān xíng lèi. Chuī xiāo rén qù yùlóu kōng , chángduàn yǔ shuí tóng yǐ . Yī zhīzhé dé, rénjiān tiānshàng, méi gèrén kān jì .

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Dark Matter

Something moves out there
Unseen—its darkness binding
Us all together—
Whole galaxies in its grip
What is this spiderless web?

AGG20150207

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These Mere Hearts of Stone

A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, – a mere heart of stone.
Charles Darwin

Not for a minute
Should you think mere hearts of stone
Do not feel as much
As less durable beings
Whose stay in this world is brief

AGG20150205

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Another Winter: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Immortal on the Riverbank”

Another winter
Silent snow so deep deep deep
Mechanical beasts
Rearranging it each night
Unseen outside my window

And so fucking what
If I’ve reached my middle age
No accomplishments
Age alcohol AIDS despair
Failed to put me in my grave

Meanwhile in Nanjing
Is there any snow at all?
The Year of the Ram
Will soon lantern your nighttime
Even if we can’t share it

Here snow is deep deep
Deep crystallized memories
I often walk with them
My tears become a language
Frozen by the bitter winds

That in thawing come the spring
The unwitting birds will sing

AGG20150203
for MKL

Tune : “lmmortal On The Riverbank” Spring Returns
By Li Qingzhao

Prefatory Note. The Venerable Sir Ouyang, in his “Butterflies Lingering Over Flowers”, has the line “Deep, how profoundly deep the courtyard is!” I very much admire it, and have composed a few rhymes beginning with the same words, the tune being the traditional “Immortal On the Riverbank.”

Deep, how profoundly deep the courtyard is!
Its rooms and casements
Perpetually locked in mist and cloud.
Willow sprouts and plum buds begin to show
As spring brings a new lease of life
To the trees of Mo Ling⑴,
Where I am fated to live out my little sojourn.

How many times we chanted verses together
On moonlit evenings leaning against the spring breeze!
Who cares I am now withering with age,
Alone and with nothing accomplished?
No point in pre-views of lanterns, ⑵
No mood to go treading the snow. ⑶

⑴Mo Ling and Jian Kang were ancient names for today’s city of Nanjing.
⑵ This alludes to the Song custom of visiting shows of festive lanterns before the Lantern Festival was celebrated on the Fifteenth Day of the First Month in the lunar year.
⑶ The poet recalls happy days in the past when she vent with her husband for walks in the snow composing verses impromptu.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.
临江仙·李清照

欧阳公作《蝶恋花》,有“深深深几许”之句,予酷爱之。用其语作“庭院深深”数阕,其声即旧《临江仙》也。

庭院深深深几许,云窗雾阁常扃。柳梢梅萼渐分明。春归秣陵树,人老建康城。
感月吟风多少事,如今老去无成。谁怜憔悴更凋零。试灯无意思,踏雪没心情。

Lín jiāng xiān · Lǐ Qīngzhào

Ouyáng gōng zuò “dié liàn huā”, yǒu “shēn shēn shēn jǐxǔ” zhī jù, yǔ
kù’ài zhī. Yòng qí yǔ zuò “tíngyuàn shēn shēn” shù què, qí shēng jí jiù
“lín jiāng xiān” yě.

Tíngyuàn shēn shēn shēn jǐxǔ? Yún chuāng wù gé cháng jiōng. Liǔ shāo méi è jiàn fēnmíng. Chūn guī mòlíng shù, rén lǎo jiàn kāng chéng.
Gǎn yuè yín fēng duōshǎo shì, rújīn lǎo qù wú chéng. Shuí lián qiáocuì gèng diāolíng. Shì dēng wú yìsi, tà xuě méi xīnqíng.

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