Wu Ling Spring

after Li Qingzhao
to 'Springtime at Wu Ling'

The wind has calmed, and in the air,
A powdered fragrance lingers. Dusk,
And I am weary, weary. All undone

I clutch these remnants of our life,
Our years. But you are lost - my words
Like salt, catch in my throat, through tears.

Shuanxi is beautiful in spring, they say;
And there I would set sail, but laden under
This my grief, this fragile vessel fails.


  1. Li Qingzhao, born in the Shandong province of China in 1084, has become one of the most celebrated practitioners of ci.

    The ci is a lyric verse form widely used in the Song dynasty. Each ci takes its title, syllable count, and rhyme from a piece of historical music for which it was written.

    'Wu Ling Spring' was originally written by Li Qingzhao in memory of her husband Zhao Mingcheng, six years after his death.

    The adaptation presented here attempts to preserve both the integrity of the verse, as well as render to the modern ear the musicality of the original ci.

    Short link - http://bit.ly/s4wuling

  2. In a rush for what's new, we cast aside and forget what is old. It is nice to be reminded again of Li Qingzhao for it had been a while.

  3. undone is such a strong word...your opening stanza sets this well....i feel the burden too as you draw to a close in the third...def lyrical...great to see you at the pub!

  4. I clutch these remnants of our life,
    Our years. But you are lost - my words
    Like salt, catch in my throat, through tears.

    Love these lines...very nice!

  5. absolutely magnificent! you had me at "I am weary, weary" after that it was like floating through a somber yet beautifully serene dream.

  6. This is so beautiful Sam. I wanted to write about Chinese poetry. Maybe you'll grace me by hosting an article about it sometime down the road. This Thursday Lady Nyo is hosting an article on the Man'yoshu. I'd love it if you'd stop by. You are such a master in these poems. I stand in awe.

  7. A lovely piece, gentle, moves like a quiet river.

  8. Very beautiful, Samuel-- catching in the throat, as ever...xxxj

  9. Beautiful and painful, capturing the long midlife of grief. I looked up another translation out of curiosity. Your choices are very clean. The "they say" puts such a remoteness between the narrator and the busy commentary of his or her acquaintances.

  10. The sound of this piece is so lovely. Beauty and sadness so carefully rendered. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Anonymous1:40:00 PM

    This just took my breath away. Stunning beauty and sadness without regret.


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