A Fool’s Game: A Response to “New Jade Candle” by Zhou Bangyan, attributed to Li Qingzhao

Lilac apple catalpa
Half-covered in fresh fallen
Snow—white on—white on—
My head’s an impossible
Conjunction of blooms

The Saint Lawrence slowly flows
Into the Yangtze River
Mount Royal rises
Beneath the Purple Mountain
Our arms are empty

Here—now—red and gold
Huddle randomly in drifts
At the wind’s mercy
Remembering’s a fool’s game
Sticking leaves back on the trees

AGG20151012

Depth Charge: Another poem universally attributed to Zhou Bangyan (Chou Pang-yen), yet included in the collection of Li Qingzhao poetry that I am using as a basis for this project. My translation of Zhou Bangyan’s poem may be found here,  Fittingly enough, my response deals with the inevitability of misremembering and misplacement.

Guo AndeTo 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…”

Translation: Zhou Bangyan’s “New Jade Candle”

By the stream after the month of dried meat and fish,
She saw bunches of river plum, and immediately began to trim them.
Building a bouquet from fragrant silk blossoms—
x     Confused and delicate,
x      Divulging her desires.
Last night in front of the village, in the yellowing dusk,
x      She longed to play with the moon.
The lonely bank steep, striped with shadows,
x     Pungent, hidden fragrances moistened her lapel and sleeves.
She lays her findings before the wine vessel,
Asking the distant mountains,
If they’ve heard anything about his return.
x     The aged sun pretends to struggle.
In the end he does not appear,
x     The river is a mere sliver of light.
x     A tender wind is graced with rain.
She randomly sticks the branches into her hair,
    Her head becomes a profusion of blossoms.
She must have faith, suppressing her sadness,
She reads the petition to the Emperor
x     Over and over again.

Translated by AGG20151009

Depth Charge: Another poem universally attributed to Zhou Bangyan (Chou Pang-yen), yet included in the collection of Li Qingzhao poetry that I am using as a basis for this project. On first encounter, I despaired of making heads or tails out of this poem; however, in my unsuccessful search for an English translation, I came across James Hightower’s article, “The Songs of Chou Pang-yen,” and his that statement the the best of Zhou Bangyan’s poems have “a narrative line that serves as a tenuous thread on which nuances of feeling are developed.” This caused the poem to form in my head, although my choice of pronoun, and the interpretation of some obscure phrases, should be regarded as nothing more than personal whimsy.

玉烛新 周邦彦

溪源新腊后。
见数朵江梅,剪裁初就。
晕酥砌玉芳英嫩,故把春心轻漏。
前村昨夜,想弄月,黄昏时候。
孤岸峭,疏影横斜,浓香暗沾襟袖。
尊前赋与多材,问岭外风光,故人知否。
寿阳谩斗。
终不似,照水一枝清瘦。
风娇雨秀。
好乱插,繁花盈首。
须信道,羌管无情,看看又奏。

Yù zhú xīn Zhōu Bāngyàn

xī yuán xīn là hòu.
Jiàn shù duǒ jiāng méi, jiǎncái chū jiù.
Yūn sū qì yù fāngyīng nèn, gù bǎ chūnxīn qīng lòu.
Qián cūn zuóyè, xiǎng nòng yuè, huánghūn shíhòu.
Gū àn qiào, shū yǐng héng xié, nóng xiāng àn zhān jīn xiù.
Zūn qián fù yǔ duō cái, wèn lǐng wài fēngguāng, gùrén zhī fǒu.
Shòu yáng mán dòu.
Zhōng bù shì, zhào shuǐ yīzhī qīngshòu.
Fēng jiāo yǔ xiù.
Hǎo luàn chā, fánhuā yíng shǒu.
Xū xìndào, xiāng guǎn wúqíng, kàn kàn yòu zòu.

Jade/candle/new Zhou Bangyan

Stream/source/new/12th Month/after.
See/many/bunches/river/plum, cut/trim/at first/right away.
Confused/silken/build by laying bricks/jade/fragrant/blossoms/delicate, therefore/hold/spring/feelings/gentle/divulge.
In front of/village/last night,want/to play with/moon, dusk/time.
Lonely/bank/high and steep, sparse/shadows/slanting/oblique, strong/pungent/hidden/moisten/lapel/sleeve.
Wine vessel/before/bestow/many/material, ask/mountain ridge/outside/landscape, old friend, know. not.
Old-age/sun/decieve/struggle.
End/not/appear, illuminate/river/one/branch/clear/thin.
Wind/delicate/rain/graceful.
Well/well/confusion/insert, flourishing/blossoms/full/head.
Must/trust/way,alone/cope/without/feeling, examine/again/memorial to the Emperor.

Guo AndeTo 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…”

رياح ليلة واحدة /The winds of one night: A response to Li Qingzhao’s “Picking Mulberry Seeds”

Once again I will try to fill the void
With desperate words and sad images,
If only I could write this in the script
Of your guttural native Arab tongue,
It’s fluid grace might be able to mask
These repetitive, plain phrases, dull pain
For one brief sentence, fragmentary phrase,
Allow you to move, breathe in memory,
Resurrect the flourishes of your life.
Strange that while your death was not violent,
It flows like blood—endless and recurrent,
A thing of fierce recursive beauty, dread.

The winds of one night
Can change the entire world
The winds of one night
Carried your last breath away
Now—much too late—we remark

AGG20150525
For ZG

Tune: “Picking Mulberry Seeds”
by Li Qingzhao

A gust of evening wind and rain
Washes the heat of blazing sunlight away.
My piping done,
I lightly touch up my face before the mirror.

Smooth as snow, fragrant as cream,
My soft skin glistens
In my flimsy sleeping-robe of purple silk.
I smile and say to my beloved:
“Tonight, our mat and pillows will be cool
Inside the gauze bed-curtains. ”

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

采桑子李清照
晚来一阵风兼雨,洗尽炎光。
理罢笙簧,却对菱花淡淡妆。
绛绡缕薄冰肌莹,雪腻酥香。
笑语檀郎,今夜纱厨枕簟凉。

Cǎi Sāng Zǐ Lǐ Qīngzhào
Wǎn lái yī zhèn fēng jiān yǔ , xǐ jìn yán guāng 。
Lǐ bà shēng huáng , què duì líng huā dàn dàn zhuāng 。
Jiàng xiāo lǚ báo bīng jī yíng , xuě nì sū xiāng 。
Xiào yǔ tán láng , jīn yè shā chú zhěn diàn liáng 。

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…”

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…”

Resurrection Spell: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “On the Trail of Sweet Incense”

Sorry to wake you—
So new to the grave—with my
Resurrection spell
Clawing at the fresh-turned earth
And chrysanthemums wilting

Should I let you settle in
Let silent worms gnaw awhile
Before I begin
With my incessant chanting
Demanding a sign

A danse macabre
Some late-night chain rattling
Disembodied moans
So as not to face alone
The fact you’re as good as gone

Now the leaves are red and gold
Dark clouds roil the autumn sky
We’re in for a spell
Of wind—rain—then peaceful snows
Best wait until spring

AGG20141006
(for ZG)

Depth Charge: This series of mirrored tankas is both a response to Li Qingzhao’s “On the Trail of Sweet Incense” and another in a series poems about the sudden death of Ziad Ghawi.

“On the Trail of Sweet Incense”
by Li Qingzhao

Golden chrysanthemums just in bloom
Tell of the approach of the Double Ninth Festival.
A bounteous gift from Heaven these autumnal tints,
Which however bring sadness in their train
As circumstances change.
I try on my thin dress, taste new-brewed wine,
Aware that I am in for
A spell of wind,
A spell of rain,
A spell of cold.

Yellowing twilight fills my rooms
With gloom and anxiety.
Memories of heart-rending sorrow
Overwhelm me as I sober up from wine.
An unending night,
A full moon flooding an empty bed.
In my ears the dull thud
Of mallets on the washing-blocks,
The feeble chirp of crickets,
The monotonous dripping of the clepsydra.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

Depth Charge: Although no indication is given in the collection I am using for the basis of this series responses, this poem is widely believed not to be one of Li Qingzhao’s, as it does not appear in any collection of her poetry until the Ming Dynasty, more than four hundred years after her death.

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

行香子李清照
天与秋光,转转情伤。探金英、知近重阳。薄衣初试,绿蚁初尝。渐一番风、一番雨、一番凉。
黄昏院落,恓恓惶惶。酒醒时、往事愁肠。那堪永夜,明月空床。闻砧声捣、蛩声细、漏声长。

Xíng xiāngzǐ Lǐ Qīngzhào
Tiān yǔ qiūguāng, zhuǎn zhuǎn qíng shāng . Tàn jīn yīng, zhī jìn chóngyáng . Báoyī chūshì, lǜ yǐ chū cháng . Jiàn yī fān fēng, yī fān yǔ, yī fān liáng.
Huánghūn yuànluò, xī xī huánghuáng . Jiǔ xǐng shí, wǎngshì chóucháng. Nà kān yǒng yè, míngyuè kōng chuáng . Wén zhēn shēng dǎo, qióng shēng xì, lòu shēng zhǎng.

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…”

To Reach the Palace of Heaven: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “On the Trail of Sweet Incense”

They said we could sail to the east,
For ten long days and ten dark nights,
Reach that shining, singular spot,
Where Milky Way and ocean meet,
Ride a silver river of stars,
Up endless layers of clouds like stairs,
And reach the Palace of Heaven—
Its lunar floors shimmering bright—
And dance our eternity there.
At one time they swore this was true.
Perhaps it was, but beyond doubt
Is that of all those who set out
To reach the Palace of Heaven,
None was seen or heard from again.

AGG20140927

Tune: “On the Trail of Sweet Incense”
The Seventh Day of the Seventh Lunar Month①
by Li Qingzhao

A deep gloom broods over Heaven and Earth.
In the rank grass crickets are chirping,
And parasol-trees, startled, let fall their leaves.
Clouds for stairs, the moon for floor,
To Heaven the way is blocked by a thousand barriers ,
And floating rafts ply to and fro
To no avail. ②

On this night magpies form a star bridge to span the Milky Way,
Where Cowboy and Weaving Maid keep their yearly tryst .
Endless must be their murmurings of love and regret
After long separation!
But whence these sudden changes
Of sun and rain and wind
In the midst of their love-making?
Can it be that they are taking leave of each other
At this very moment?

①A beautiful folk-tale dating back many centuries says that the Cowboy and the Weaving Maid (the two stars Altair and Vega on opposites ides of the Milky Way) loved each other so much that they incurred the displeasure of the Emperor of Heaven for neglect of duty and were permitted to meet only once a year on the night of the Seventh Day of the Seventh Month, crossing the Milky Way by a bridge formed by magpies.

②According to the Book of Natural Science (博物志/bó​wùzhì), written by Zhang Hua/张华 (232–300) of the Jin Dynasty, in ancient times the Milky Way was connected with the sea, and people setting out from the sea on a huge wooden raft, would reach Heaven after sailing ten-odd days. There they could catch sight of the Weaving Maid busy at her loom in the palace and the Cowboy herding cattle on the bank of the Heavenly River.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

行香子七夕李清照
草际鸣蛩,惊落梧桐,正人间、天上愁浓。云阶月地,关锁千重。纵浮槎来,浮槎去,不相逢。
星桥鹊驾,经年才见,想离情、别恨难穷。牵牛织女,莫是离中。甚霎儿晴,霎儿雨,霎儿风。

行香子七夕李清照
草際鳴蛩,驚落梧桐,正人間、天上愁濃。雲階月地,關鎖千重。縱浮槎來,浮槎去,不相逢。
星橋鵲駕,經年才見,想離情、別恨難窮。牽牛織女,莫是離中。甚霎兒晴,霎兒雨,霎兒風。

xíng xiāngzǐ qīxì Lǐ Qīngzhào
Cǎo jì míng qióng, jīng luò wútóng, zhèng rénjiān, tiānshàng chóu nóng. Yún jiē yuè de, guān suǒ qiān zhòng. Zòng fú chá lái, fú chá qù, bù xiāngféng.
Xīng qiáo què jià, jīng nián cái jiàn, xiǎng líqíng, bié hèn nán qióng. Qiān niú zhīnǚ, mò shì lí zhōng. Shén shà er qíng, shà er yǔ, shà er fēng.

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…”

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…”

A Cicada’s Swan Song: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Spring in the Jade Pavilion”

“We survived. You and I. And those who survive have a duty. Our duty is to do our best to keep on living. Even if our lives are not perfect. ”
from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

How could either of us have known
My plastic balcony table
Would be your final resting place?

When I saw you there, I thought
You were already dead
So I picked you up; I noticed,
Your filigreed, shimmering wings,
Your two dark, oval eyes,
Your tapered, beveled body—
And then the white mold
Coating your underside—
A scourge to your kind.

Suddenly, you buzzed.
The unexpected movement,
Violent between my fingers,
Startled me into dropping you
Back onto the tabletop—
To you just another predator foiled.

Over the course of the day,
You crawled to the edge,
Then clung to the side,
And that is where you died.

The chemicals in your brain
Arranged into a song of longing,
Did you succeed in passing
Your sad melody along?
Does a slit in a twig somewhere
Conceal eggs that already know the tune?

No matter, your agonies
Pierced an untold number
Of smaller beings—like me,
For your vibrating heart
Shields a silence
That—like desire—the wind,
Though warm and merciless,
Cannot carry away.

AGG20140827

Tune: “Spring in the Jade Pavilion”
by Li Qingzhao

Red Plum Blossom
Soft red petals ready to unfold,
Luscious jade-green buds begin to break.
Tell me, are her southern branches all in full bloom?
I know not how much perfume she has in store,
I am only aware that her heart is throbbing
with boundless love.

The Taoist recluse at the spring window, how she pines!
No leaning against the balustrade, her mood so depressed.
Come have a drink, if you will, with no more ado.
Who knows but that tomorrow the wind may blow the
blossoms away?

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

《玉楼春》 李清照
红酥肯放琼苞碎,探著南枝开遍未。不知酝藉几多香,但见包藏无限意。
道人憔悴春窗底,闷损阑干愁不倚。要来小酌便来休,未必明朝风不起。

《玉樓春》李清照
紅酥肯放瓊苞碎,探著南枝開遍未。不知醞藉幾多香,但見包藏無限意。
道人憔悴春窗底,悶損闌干愁不倚。要來小酌便來休,未必明朝風不起。

“Yùlóu chūn” Lǐ Qīngzhào
Hóng sū kěn fàng qióng bāo suì , tànzhe nán zhī kāi biàn wèi. Bùzhī yùn jí jǐ duō xiāng , dàn jiàn bāocáng wúxiàn yì.
Dàoren qiáocuì chūn chuāng dǐ , mèn sǔn lángān chóu bù yǐ. Yào lái xiǎo zhuó biàn lái xiū , wèibì míng cháo fēng bù qǐ.

“Jade/Storied Building/Spring” Li Qingzhao
Red/silky/willing/release/jade/bud/break, search/to make know/southern/branch/open/all over/not yet. Not knowing/harbor/conceal/how/much/fragrance, but/appear/to contain/unbounded/meaning.
Taoist/person/wan/sallow/spring/window/bottom, gloomy/decrease/balustrade/worry/not/rely on. Must/come/drink/snack/come/rest, maybe not/tomorrow morning/wind/not/rise.

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…”

Brackley Beach: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Complaint Against A Prince”

Artemisia flowers
Brown in the heat
Dune grass whispers

As wind ripples the waters
Pushing against
Incoming waves

Cliff swallows shoot high then dive
Swoop low hunting
Other small things

Jellyfish pulse purple trail
Blood-red stingers
Like history

Below the rolling surface
Slender fish mouth
Liquid secrets

The bright white gulls could care less
As we drift  past
They do not budge

A lone heron first rises
Above the dunes
Then drops back down

It arcs silent from the past
Enters wordless
Into our worlds

AGG20140731
(revised AGG20150823)
(for Anne Burke)

Depth Charge: I had a lovely walk on Brackley Beach, the beach of my childhood, with Anne Burke, who possesses the amazing power to name things.  She identified the Artemisia Maritima and it struck me that the word Artemisia also appears in the Li Qingzhao poem I just happened to be working on at the time, as did other words—gull, heron, wind and waves—resonant with the scenery.

Tune: ‘*Complaint Against A Prince”
Admiring Lotuses
by Li Qingzhao

Wind on the lake sends the waves
Drifting far and wide.
Autumn deepens. A few lotus blossoms remain
With a lingering fragrance.
Beautiful beyond words are these verdant hills and sparkling streams
That endear themselves to me so warmly.

Lotus pods ripen into seed
As lotus leaves grow sere;
Duckweed and rushes fringe the bank
Fresh-washed by crystal dew.
Dozing egrets and gulls on the sand
Do not so much as turn their heads,
As if they, too, resent
My going away so early.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

李清照怨王孙
湖上风来波浩渺,秋已暮、红稀香少。水光山色与人亲,说不尽、无穷好。
莲子已成荷叶老,清露洗、苹花汀草。眠沙鸥鹭不回头,似也恨、人归早。

李清照怨王孫
湖上風來波浩渺,秋已暮、紅稀香少。水光山色與人親,說不盡、無窮好。
蓮子已成荷葉老,清露洗、蘋花汀草。眠沙鷗鷺不回頭,似也恨、人歸早。

Lǐ Qīngzhào Yuàn wángsūn
Húshàng fēng lái bō hàomiǎo, qiū yǐ mù, hóng xī xiāng shǎo.Shuǐ guāngshān sè yǔ rén qīn, shuō bu jǐn, wúqióng hǎo.
Liánzǐ yǐ chéng hé yè lǎo, qīng lù xǐ, píng huā tīng cǎo .Mián shā’ōu lù bù huítóu, shì yě hèn, rén guī zǎo.

Li Qingzhao Complain/king/grandson
Lake/on/wind/arrive/wave/vast/extending, autumn/already/sunset, red/rare/fragrance/few. Water/light/mountain/colour/with/person/close, speak/without/end, endlessly/fond.
Lotus/seed/already/become/lotus/leaf/old, clear/dew/wash, Artemisia (duckweed)/flower/sandbank/grass. Sleep/raspy/gull/heron/not/turn/head/seem/also/resent/person/go back/early.

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

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…”

A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Bodhisattva’s Gold Headdress”

It is when the world’s erased,
Made blank by a winter storm,
It is then we know,
Beneath the soft, killing snow,
Seeds and eggs and cruel blooms
Plot their spring revanche.
It’s in January’s wind
We first hear the desperate,
Sad and lonely tune
The cicadas will sweetly sing
In the July heat at noon.
This is when we know.

We know happy is the corpse
The rain softly falls upon:
It was warm and wet,
Beading on your coffin dark,
Disappearing down into
The cold, hungry ground.
We cried and then laughed—a lot—
As long as we are breathing
Your love has not died,
Your world will not be erased,
Made blank by this awful plague.
This is what we know.

AGG20140722
(for Doug and Bob and Chris and Peter and Patrick and the countless others buried deep in our still beating hearts)

Tune: “Bodhisattva’s Gold Headdress”
Nostalgia

The honks of departing wild geese die away;
Only scattered clouds are lingering in an azure sky.
Outside the back-window snow falls thick and blinding,
Smoke from the incense burner rises straight and high.
My phoenix hairpin lurid under the candle’s glow;
From the hairpin pendants of figurine and flower designs
Swing languidly to and fro .

Bugles hasten the break of day,
As dawn stars fade i n the Milky Way.
Futile my search for the first blooms of spring:
A wintry chill to the west wind does cling.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

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

李清照菩萨蛮
归鸿声断残云碧,背窗雪落炉烟直。烛底凤钗明,钗头人胜轻。
角声催晓漏,曙色回牛斗。春意看花难,西风留旧寒。

李清照菩薩蠻
歸鴻聲斷殘雲碧,背窗雪落爐煙直。燭底鳳釵明,釵頭人勝輕。
角聲催曉漏,曙色回牛斗。春意看花難,西風留舊寒。

Lǐ Qīngzhào Púsà mán
Guī hóng shēng duàn cán yún bì , bèi chuāng xuě luò lú yān zhí . Zhú dǐ fèng chāi míng , chāi tóu rén shèng qīng .
Jiǎo shēng cuī xiǎo lòu , shǔsè huí niú dǒu . Chūnyì kàn huā nán, xīfēng liú jiù hán.

Li Qingzhao Bodhisattva Barbarian

Return/goose/sound/break/spoil/cloud/jade-green, behind/window/snow/fall/stove/smoke/straight. Candle/end/phoenix/hairpin/bright, haipin/head/person/able to bear/light.
Horn/sound/urge/dawn/divulge, daybreak/colour/circle/ox(star)/dipper(star). Spring/thought/see/flower/difficult, west/find/remain/as of old/cold.

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…”