The Luxury: A Response to “Bowl of Green Jade”, Attributed to LI Qingzhao

子曰:「學而時習之,不亦說乎?有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎?人不知而不慍,不亦君子乎?」
The Master said, “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters? Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?”
Confucius, The Analects, Translated by James Legge

The leaves fell for you
One final time—red and gold
Fifteen years later
Red and gold—falling again
Do you think they remember?

Now a southern wind
Moistens all the fallen leaves
A tropical storm
Awake at night I listen
To its final tears streaming

The most dramatic
Season—beginning in heat
Ending with the frost—
The fall is only one-third
Over—bare branches creaking

Tonight I will share
Food with a mutual friend
In from out of town
As always we’ll talk of you
And then slip into silence

It’s a luxury
Really to have someone else
To share memories
Of the dead—I pity those
Who talk only to tombstones

AGG20151030

Tune: Bowl of Green Jade

Spring’ s glory-how far is it advanced?
Two-thirds already gone.
Lush foliage deep in verdure,
Red blossoms all smiles:
Are barely passable.
A courtyard shadowy under weeping willows,
A room with curtains brushed by warm breeze:
Here’s someone withering away!

A riot of flowers on sale for my choosing
I ride through the streets of Chang’an, wine my freight—
What are these beside the peach and plum of my native hills?
Blame not the east wind bringing tears to a wanderer’s eyes!
Nostalgic feelings are hard to express;
Cherished dreams—a mere illusion.
What can I do but return to my home town?

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

Depth Charge: This poem is almost everywhere attributed to Ouyang Xiu, not Li Qingzhao.

青玉案欧阳修
一年春事都来几,早过了、三之二。绿暗红嫣浑可事。绿杨庭院,暖风廉幕,有个人憔悴。
买花载酒长安市,又争似、家山见桃李。不枉东风吹客泪。相思难表,梦魂无据,惟有归来是。

Qīng yù àn Ouyáng Xiū
Yī niánchūn shì dōu lái jǐ , zǎoguòle, sān zhī èr . Lǜ àn hóng yān hún kě shì . Lǜ yáng tíngyuàn, nuǎn fēng lián mù, yǒu gèrén qiáocuì.
Mǎi huā zài jiǔ cháng’ān shì , yòu zhēng sì, jiāshān jiàn táolǐ . Bù wǎng dōngfēng chuī kè lèi . Xiāngsī nán biǎo, mèng hún wú jù, wéiyǒu guīlái shì .

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