Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Already I feel the heart of Spring vibrating"

A Song of Departure

by Li Qingzhao (c.1083-1149)

Warm rain and soft breeze by turns
Have just broken
And driven away the chill.
Moist as the pussy willows,
Light as the plum blossoms,
Already I feel the heart of Spring vibrating.
But now who will share with me
The joys of wine and poetry?
Tears streak my rouge.
My hairpins are too heavy.
I put on my new quilted robe
Sewn with gold thread
And throw myself against a pile of pillows,
Crushing my phoenix hairpins.
Alone, all I can embrace is my endless sorrow.
I know a good dream will never come.
So I stay up till past midnight
Trimming the lamp flower’s smoking wick.

Translated by Kenneth Rexroth. Text from the Bureau of Public Secrets website.

The Inconsolable Widow, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, c.1763.

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