Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Fisherman’s Pride”

The sad stars spin forever
Further and further apart
Disappear into dark dust
One-by-one
Where is it you want to go?

I’ll be cradled in the waves
Red sandstone—white sand—blue sea
The crow—mackerel—fox—me
We’ll dissolve
Beyond tears—these words—surprise

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Tune: “Fisherman’s Pride”
A Dream
by Li Qingzhao

Billowing clouds surging across the heavens
Merge into dawn’s hazy mist.
Sails in their thousands toss and dance
As the Milky Way recedes.
In a vision I find myself before the Heavenly Ruler,
Who asks solicitously
Where I wish to be off to.

“My journey is a long one,” I reply.
“The sun is setting all too soon.
And my brilliant poetic attempts, alas!
Have come to no purpose.”
Presently a whirlwind rises, and lo!
The Mighty Roc is winging to the Empyrean (1)
On a flight of ninety-thousand li.
Blow, 0 Whirlwind! Blow on without cease.
Blow my tiny craft to the three far-off isles (2)
Where the Immortals dwell.

(1)    A fabulous bird first described i n the works of Zhuang Ziin the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.). When migrating to the South Seas it is said to strike the waters for 3000 li before soaring to a height of 9000 li on a whirlwind. Hence the popular saying “Roc’s Journey” frequently used by the Chinese to this day to congratulate someone embarking on a career of lofty aspirations.

(2)    i. e. the three legendary isles “Penglai, Fangzhang and Yingzhou in the Bohai Sea.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

李清照渔家傲
天接云涛连晓雾,星河欲转千帆舞。仿佛梦魂归帝所。闻天语,殷勤问我归何处。
我报路长嗟日暮,学诗谩有惊人句。九万里风鹏正举。风休住,蓬舟吹取三山去!

李清照漁家傲
天接雲濤連曉霧,星河欲轉千帆舞。彷彿夢魂歸帝所。聞天語,殷勤問我歸何處。
我報路長嗟日暮,學詩謾有驚人句。九萬里風鵬正舉。風休住,蓬舟吹取三山去!

Liqīngzhào Yújiā ào
Tiān jiē yún tāo lián xiǎo wù, xīnghé yù zhuǎn qiānfān wǔ . Fǎngfú mèng hún guī dì suǒ . Wén tiānyǔ , yīnqín wèn wǒ guī hé chù .
Wǒ bào lù cháng jiē rìmù , xué shī mán yǒu jīngrén jù . Jiǔ wàn lǐ fēng péng zhèng jǔ . Fēng xiū zhù, péng zhōu chuī qǔ sānshān qù !

Li Qingzhao Fisherman/home/pride
Sky/extend/cloud/big wave/in succession/dawn/mist, Star/river/desire/circle/1,000/sails/dance. As/if/dream/spirit/returns to/Huangdi (Sky God)/place. Hear/sky/speech, Solicitously/ask/me/return to/which/place.
I/reply/road/long/sigh!/sun/curtain(sets), study/poetry/slow/have/surprise/people/phrase. Nine/10,000/li(measure of distance)/wind/Mythical Bird/just/rising. Wind/rests/stay, Penglai (Mythical Islands)/boat/blow/take hold/three/mountains/go.

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…”

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Frog, Bug and Preacher: A Skeptic’s Nursery Rhyme

Tea Hill, Prince Edward Island, Photo by Christine Trainor

A frog in a well,
A bug in a tree,
A preacher preaching.
They think they are free.

A small plot of land,
A short spell of time,
A dusty old book,
All reason and rhyme.

The infinite span
Of wide open seas,
Fathomless knowledge,
All outside their creed.

A frog in a well,
A bug in a tree,
A preacher preaching.
You don’t want to be.

La-dee-da-dee-dig-a-dag-dik
La-dee-da-dee-dig-a-dag-dak
La-dee-da-dee-dig-a-dag-dik
La-dee-da-dee-dig-a-dag-dak

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Depth Charges:
Ancient: Zhuangzi – The Floods of Autumn
Classic: Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar
Modern: Umwelt by David Eagleman
A bug in a tree: The mushroom of a morning does not know (what takes place between) the beginning and end of a month; the short-lived cicada does not know (what takes place between) the spring and autumn.
A frog in a well: Animated Short Film