The Late Spring (暮春即事) by Yu Xuanji (魚玄機)

深巷窮門少侶儔,
阮郎唯有夢中留。
香飄羅綺誰家席?
風送歌聲何處樓?
街近鼓鼙喧曉睡,
庭閑鵲語亂春愁。
安能追逐人間事,
萬里身同不繫舟。

阮郎唯有夢中留。
香飄羅綺誰家席?
風送歌聲何處樓?
街近鼓鼙喧曉睡,
庭閑鵲語亂春愁。
安能追逐人間事,
萬里身同不繫舟。

Lovers seldom come to this deep alley,
Their spirits have to linger on in dreams.

Whose fragrance of damask is this?
From which tower does this breeze blow the song?

Sounds of drums in the street,
Disturb my morning sleep.
Magpies chirping in the courtyard,
Confuse my spring sorrows.

How can I care
For things of this world?
Ten thousand miles, my life,
Like a boat unmoored.

The Late Spring (暮春即事) by Yu Xuanji (魚玄機). Tang dynasty.

Concubine, nun, and courtesan Yu Xuanji was a Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty distinguished for her direct, autobiographical poetic style. Yu lived a short life abounding with scandal and strife; she had an affair with renowned lyricist Wen Tingyun (温庭筠), lived promiscuously, and allegedly beat her maid to death, for which she was executed. Stories of Yu’s sexual adventures have lead some to credit her as the first well-known openly bisexual woman in China.

Yu’s work was published in a collection entitled Fragments of a Northern Dreamland, which has since been lost. The forty-nine surviving poems were published in a “freak anthology” in the Song dynasty alongside poems attributed to foreigners and ghosts. Yu’s vivid and deeply emotional poetry is reminiscent of the post-Romantic cult of personal expression popular in western poetry.

(via sinethetamagazine)

Want to share this?

O Soul, go not to the West
Where level wastes of sand stretch on and on;
And demons rage, swine-headed, hairy-skinned,
With bulging eyes;
Who in wild laughter gnash projecting fangs.
O Soul, go not to the West
Where many perils wait!
O Soul, come back to idleness and peace.
In quietude enjoy
The lands of Jing and Chu.
There work your will and follow your desire
Till sorrow is forgot,
And carelessness shall bring you length of days.
O Soul, come back to joys beyond all telling!

Poem calling back the soul of the dead, 3rd century BC, from The Great Summons translated by Arthur Waley in Morris, I. (ed.), Madly Singing in the Mountains: An Appreciation and Anthology of Arthur Waley, Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1970.

Victoria and Albert Museum: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/burial-customs-china/

There’s at least one “ask” in my inbox – which I am researching, I promise! But in the meantime, have some cool poetry. 😀

Want to share this?