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November 03, 2011


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Again! Again you re-kindle my love for the Chinese classics. I don't think I ever told you, but Arthur Waley's books were a strong infuence on my early poetry, but re-visiting the source, through the eyes of other translators, is like coming home.

Your rendition of Li Qingzhao's 'Wu Ling Spring' was a revelation to me (and didn't I say in your Note that I would file it away because I knew one day I would return to it?)... and this rendition of her chrysanthemum poem is likewise inspirational. So wonderful to read, thank you.

Thanks so much, Sam! If you attempt this one too--please let me know, I'd love to see what you do with it and the two Lady Li poems make a nice pair!!


武陵春 【宋】李清照

住尘香花已尽, 日晚倦梳头。

To the Tune of Wuling Spring –Li Qingzhao

The wind has died down
And the scent of scattered flowers fills the dusty air
Though day is here
I am too weary to do my hair

While I still have his objects, he is gone
And all is lost
I long to speak
But these tears won’t stop

They say Shuangxi in spring is lovely
And I would sail there in a dainty boat
But alas I fear
The boat could not hold my sadness

This one will simmer a bit, but I'll definitely let you know. As I read through her poems, though, I notice so much pining and absence. So sad.

I've just tackled one by Fujiwara no Teika, a tanka, but I had to do an inordinate amount of research for so few lines. This one:


My version at Semaphore.

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