The sad stars spin forever
Further and further apart
Disappear into dark dust
Where is it you want to go?
I’ll be cradled in the waves
Red sandstone—white sand—blue sea
Beyond tears—these words—surprise
Tune: “Fisherman’s Pride”
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.
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.
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