A Long Melancholy Tune (Autumn Sorrow) – Despair by Li Qingzhao

Searching, seeking.
Seeking, searching:
What comes of it but
Coldness and desolation,
A world of dreariness and misery
And stabbing pain!
As soon as one feels a bit of warmth
A sense of chill returns:
A time so hard to have a quiet rest.
What avail two or three cups of tasteless wine
Against a violent evening wind?
Wild geese wing past at this of all hours,
And it suddenly dawns on me
That I’ve met them before.

Golden chrysanthemums in drifts —
How I’d have loved to pick them,
But now, for whom? On the ground they lie strewn,
Faded, neglected.
There’s nothing for it but to stay at the window,
Motionless, alone.
How the day drags before dusk descends!
Fine rain falling on the leaves of parasol-trees —
Drip, drip, drop, drop, in the deepening twilight.
To convey all the melancholy feelings
Born of these scenes
Can the one word “sorrow” suffice?

From: Wang, Jiaosheng, “The Complete Ci-poems of Li Qingzhao: A New English Translation” in Sino-Platonic Papers, 13, October, 1989, p. 109.
(http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp013_li_qingzhao.pdf)

Date: c1110 (original); 1989 (translation)

By: Li Qingzhao (1084-c1151)

Translated by: Jiaosheng Wang (19??- )

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One Comment to “A Long Melancholy Tune (Autumn Sorrow) – Despair by Li Qingzhao”

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