Agnes Lee – One Thousand Words

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Tune: Green Jade Cup   

Lantern Festival

Xin Ji-qi  

One night’s east wind adorns a thousand trees with flowers

        And blows down stars in showers.

Fine steeds and carved cabs spread fragrance en route,

       Music vibrates from the flute,

       The moon sheds its full light

While fish and dragon lanterns dance all night.

 

In gold-thread dress, with moth or willow ornaments,

Giggling, they melt into the throng with trails of scents.

But in the crowd once and again

       I look for her in vain.

When all at once I turn my head,

      I find her there where lantern light is dimly shed.

 

青玉案 元夕

辛棄疾

東風夜放花千樹,更吹落,星如雨。寶馬雕車香滿路,鳳簫聲動,玉壺光轉,一夜魚龍舞。

蛾兒雪柳黃金縷,笑語盈盈暗香去。眾裏尋他千百度,驀然回首,那人卻在,燈火闌珊處。

 

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Tune:  Prelude to the Melody of Water

On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival of 1076, I drank happily till dawn and wrote this in my cups while thinking of Zi-you(my brother)

Su Shi (Translated by Xu Yuan-zhong)

How long will the bright moon appear?

Wine-cup in hand, I ask the sky.

I do not know what time of year

It would be tonight in the palace on high.

Riding the wind, there I would fly.

Yet I fear the crystal palace would be

Far too high and cold for me.

I rise and dance, with my shadow I play.

On high as on earth, would it be as gay?

 

The moon goes round the mansion red

Though gauzed-draped windows soft to shed

Her light upon the sleepless bed.

Against man she should have no spite.

Why then when people part is she oft full and bright?

Men have sorrow and joy, they part or meet again;

The moon may be bright or dim, she may wax or wane.

There has been nothing perfect since the olden days.

So let us wish that man

Will live long as he can.

Though miles apart, we’ll share the beauty she displays.

 

水調歌頭

蘇軾  丙辰中秋,歡飲達旦,大醉,作此篇,兼懷子由

明月幾時有?把酒問青天。不知天上宮闕,今夕是何年。我欲乘風歸去,又恐瓊樓玉宇,高處不勝寒。起舞弄清影,何似在人間。

轉朱閣,低綺戶,照無眠。不應有恨,何事長向別時圓?人有悲歡離合,月有陰晴圓缺,此事古難全。但願人長久,千里共嬋娟。

 

 

Tune:  Calming the Wave       

On the 7th day of the 3rd month we were caught in rain on our way to the Sandy Lake. The umbrella had gone ahead, my companions were quite downhearted, but I took no notice. It soon cleared, and I wrote this.

Su Shi

Listen not to the rain beating against the trees.

Why don’t you slowly walk and chant at ease?

Better than a saddle I like sandals and cane.

I’d fain,

In a straw cloak, spend my life in mist and rain.

Drunken, I am sobered by the vernal wind shrill.

And rather chill.

In front, I see the slanting sun atop the hill;

Turning my head, I see the dreary beaten track.

Let me go back!

Impervious to rain or shine, I’ll have my own will.

 

Su Shi wrote this lyric on his way back from the Sandy Lake, 15 kilometers to the east of Huangzhou where he had been banished since 1080.

 

定風波

蘇軾

莫聽穿林打葉聲,何妨吟嘯且徐行。竹杖芒鞋輕勝馬,誰怕?一蓑煙雨任平生。

料峭春風吹酒醒,微冷,山頭斜照卻相迎。回首向來蕭瑟處,歸去,也無風雨也無晴。

 

 

Tune: “Water Dragon Chant”   

After Zhang Zhi-fu’s lyric on willow catkins, using the same rhyming words.

Su Shi

They seem to be yet not be flowers,

None pity them when they fall down in showers.

Forsaking home,

By the roadside they roam;

I think they have no feeling to impact,

But they could have thoughts deep.

See grief benumb their tender heart,

Their wistful eyes near shot with sleep,

About to open, yet closed again.

They dream of going with the wind for long,

Long miles to find a tender-hearted man,

But are aroused by the orioles’ song.

I do not grieve the willow catkins flown away,

But that in Western Garden fallen red

Can’t be restored. When dawns the day

And rain is o’er, we cannot find their traces

But in a pond with duckweeds overspread.

Of Spring’s three graces,

Two have gone with the roadside dust;

One with the waves. But if you just

Take a close look, you will never

Find catkins but tear-drops of those who sever.

 

水龍吟 次韻章質夫楊花詞

蘇軾  

似花還似非花,也無人惜從教墜。拋家傍路,思量卻是,無情有思。縈損柔腸,困酣嬌眼,欲開還閉。夢隨風萬里,尋郎去處,又還被、鶯呼起。

不恨此花飛盡,恨西園、落紅難綴。曉來雨過,遺蹤何在,一池萍碎。春色三分,二分塵土,一分流水。細看來,不是楊花,點點是、離人淚。

 

This poem written after Zhang Zhi-fu’ lyric is generally acknowledged to be the better than the original, for Su Shi personifies willow catkins as a lonely woman longing for her husband. The “orioles’ song” refer to the following Tang Poem;

Drive orioles off the tree

For their songs awake me

From dreaming of my dear

Far off on the frontier.

According to Su Shi’s own note, “It is said that when willow catkins fall into the water, they turn into duckweed.” This is of course the poet’s imagination.

 

 

Tune: “The Beautiful Lady Yu”   

Written for Chen Xiang at the Scenic Hall

Su Shi  

How far the lakes and hills of Southern land,

With plains extending as a golden strand!

How oft, wine-cup in hand, have you been here

To make us linger drunk though we appear?

By Sandy River Pond the new-lit lamps are bright.

Who sings the “the Water Melody” at night?

When I come back, the wind goes down, the bright moon paves

With emerald glass the river waves.

 

Su Shi (1037-1101) has been regarded by many as the greatest of Song poets. This poem was written for Chen Xiang, governor of Hangzhou, who feasted his subordinate officials in the Scenic Hall built on Mount Wu by the side of the West Lake before he was going to leave office in 1074.

 

虞美人

蘇軾  

湖山信是東南美, 一望彌千里。使君能得幾回來, 便使尊前醉倒且徘徊。

沙河塘裡燈初上, 水調誰家唱。夜闌風靜欲歸時, 惟有一江明月碧琉璃。

 

 

Tune: Immortal at the Magpie Bridge   

Qin Guan

Cloud float like works of art;

Stars shoot with grief at heart.

Across the Milky Way the Cowherd meets the Maid.

When autumn’s Golden Wind embraces Dew of Jade,

All the love scenes on earth, however many, fade.

Their tender love flows like a stream;

This happy date seems but a dream.

Can they bear a separate homeward way?

If love between both sides can last for aye,

Why need they stay together night and day?

 

Qin Guan( 1049-1100) was another follower of Su Shi. This lyric eclipsed all other love poems by verifying the old legend concerning the Cowherd and The Maid or the Weaver, two starts separated by the Milky Way, two were to meet across a magpie bridge once every year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month when the golden autumn wind embraced the dew impearled like jade.

 

鵲橋仙  

秦觀

纖雲弄巧,飛星傳恨,銀漢迢迢暗度。

金風玉露一相逢,便勝卻人間無數。

柔情似水,佳期如夢,忍顧鵲橋歸路。

兩情若是久長時,又豈在朝朝暮暮。

 

 

Tune: Bells Ringing in the Rain   

Liu Yong

Cicadas chill

And drearily shill,

We stand face to face at an evening hour

Before the pavilion, after a sudden shower.

Can I care for drinking before we part?

At the city gate

Where we’re lingering late,

But the boat is waiting for me to depart.

Hand in hand, we gaze at each other’s tearful eyes

And burst into sobs with words congealed on our lips.

I’ll go my way

Far, far away

On miles and miles of misty waves where sail the ships,

Evening clouds hang low in boundless Southern skies.

Parting lovers would grieve as of old.

How could I stand this clear autumn day so cold!

Where shall I be found at day’s early break

From wine awake?

Moored by a riverbank planted with willow trees

Beneath the waning moon and in the morning breeze.

I’ll be gone for a year.

In vain would good times and fine scenes appear!

However gallant I am on my part.

To whom can I lay bare my heart?

 

雨霖鈴  

柳永

寒蟬淒切。對長亭晚,驟雨初歇。都門帳飲無緒,(方)留戀處、蘭舟催發。執手相看淚眼,竟無語凝噎。念去去、千里煙波,暮靄沉沉楚天闊。多情自古傷離別,更那堪、冷落清秋節。今宵酒醒何處?楊柳岸、曉風殘月。此去經年,應是良辰好景虛設。便縱有、千種風情,更與何人說?

 

This is a famous lyric depicting the sorrow of a pair of lovers bidding farewell before the pavilion at the city gate of the capital.

 

 

Tune: Butterflies Lingering over Flowers   

Su Shi

Red flowers fade, green apricots still small

When swallows pass

Over blue water which surrounds the garden wall.

Most willow catkins have been blown away, alas!

But there is no place where grows not the sweet green grass.

Without the wall there’s a road; within there’s a swing.

A passer-by

Hears a fair maiden’s laughter in the garden ring.

As the ringing laughter dies away by and by,

For the enchantress the enchant’d can only sigh.

 

This lyric is supposed to have been written while the poet was banished to Hainan Island, southernmost part of the Song territory. The first stanza describes the departing spring and the second depicts the sorrow of a wayfarer far from home.

 

蝶戀花  

蘇軾

 

花褪殘紅青杏小。燕子飛時,綠水人家繞。枝上柳綿吹又少,天涯何處無芳草。

牆裡鞦韆牆外道。牆外行人,牆裡佳人笑。笑漸不聞聲漸悄,多情卻被無情惱。

 

 

Tune: Manifold Little Hill   

Yue Fei

The autumn crickets chirped incessantly last night,

Breaking my dream home-bound,

‘Twas already mid-night.

I got up and alone in the yard walk’d around,

On window screen the moon shone bright,

There was no human sound.

My hair turns gray

For the glorious day,

In native hills bamboos and pines grow old.

O when can I see my household?

I would confide to my lute what I have in view,

But connoisseurs are few.

Who would be listening

Though I break my lute string?

 

This lyric reveals implicitly the general’s resentment against the capitulationists who would not sanction his resistance against the Jurchen invaders.

 

小重山

岳飛

昨夜寒蛩不住鳴,驚回千里夢,已三更,起來獨自繞階行,人悄悄,簾外月朧明。

白首為功名,舊山松竹老,阻歸程,欲將心事付瑤琴,知音少,弦斷有誰聽?

 

 

Tune: Screened by Southern Curtain

Fan Zhong-Yan

Emerald clouds above

And yellow leaves below,

O’er autumn-tinted waves, cold, green mists grow.

The sun slants o’er the hills, the waves blend with the sky,

Unfeeling grass grows sweet beyond the mountains high.

A homesick heart

Lost in thoughts deep,

Only sweet dreams each night can retain me in sleep.

Don’t lean alone on rails when the bright moon appears!

Wine in sad bowels would turn into nostalgic tears.

 

The poet’s feeling merging with the autumn scene became nostalgia just as wine in his sad bowels turned into homesick tears.  

 

蘇幕遮

范仲淹

碧雲天,黃葉地。秋色連波,波上寒煙翠。山映斜陽天接水。芳草無情,更在斜陽外。

黯鄉魂,追旅思。夜夜除非,好夢留人睡。明月樓高休獨倚,酒入愁腸,化作相思淚。

 

 

An Autumn Night        

Du Mu

Silver Candle autumn light on cold picture screen,

She uses a fan to wave at the fireflies.

The steps feel cool as water in this evening,

Why not watch the two love stars meet in the sky.

 

秋夕

杜牧

銀燭秋光冷畫屏,輕羅小扇撲流螢。

天階夜色涼如水,坐看牽牛織女星。

 

Thoughts on a Tranquil Night    

Li Bai

Before my bed a pool of light

Can it be hoar-frost on the ground?

Looking up, I find the moon bright;

Bowing, in homesickness I’m drowned.

 

靜夜思 李白

床前明月光,疑是地上霜。
舉頭望明月,低頭思故鄉。

 

 

Spring Morning   

Meng Hao ran

This spring morning in bed I’m lying,

Not to awake till birds are crying.

After one night of wind and showers,

How many are the fallen flowers!

 

春曉

孟浩然

春眠不覺曉,處處聞啼鳥。

夜來風雨聲, 花落知多少?

 

 

Tune: The Moon Over the West River                   

Zhang Xiao-xiang

Does the lade-side spring scene the same remain?

Three years have passed now that I come again.

Across the surface of the lake the east wind blows my boat,

The willow- branches wreathe by wreathe caress my face and coat.

I ‘m used to life both high and low,

My heart’s at ease where’er  I go,

Water looks like the sky below Cold-Light (pavilion)

It’s ruffled only by the waterbirds in flight.

 

西江月
張孝祥

問訊湖邊春色,重來又是三年。東風吹我過湖船。楊柳絲絲拂面。

世路如今已慣,此心到處悠然。寒光亭下水如天。飛起沙鷗一片。

 

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TUNE: Fairies by The River

— Yang Zhen (1488-1559)

— Translated by Frank C Yue

The Yangtze rolling waves keep disappearing towards the east;

Washing unto Time gallant souls of old, they never cease.

Right and wrong, success and failure — in a flash they’re all gone!

Yet, green hills are here still, and many a sundown (and dawn).

 

The fisher and wood-cutter friends, with hair blowing silver,

Take a rest on the sand-bar by the great rushing River.

Accustomed to the fair Autumn moon and gentle Spring breeze,

They’re happy to meet o’er a vase of unstrained wine at ease.

Of many a past or present mon’mental or small thing,

Amid hearty laughter and talks, they all simply take wing!

 

臨江仙    

楊慎

滾滾長江東逝水,

浪花淘盡英雄。

是非成敗轉頭空。

青山依舊在,幾度夕陽紅。

 

白髮漁樵江渚上,

慣看秋月春風。

一壺濁酒喜相逢。

古今多少事,都付笑談中。