木兰花: Magnolia (by 钱惟演 Qian Wei Yan)

*poem mentioned in Chaos of Beauty chapter eleven

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{{Magnolia}}

Over the splendid view of the city, the singing of orioles converges into a mess,

Down in the city, waves of spring sea smoke washes ashore.

When will the green willow [that is] like endlessly fragrant grass subside?

My eyes tears up in sorrow, yet my insides have already shattered.

Feelings have gradually declined with age,

Surprised [I am] to find the Luan face of blossoming beauty in the mirror has already changed.

Over the previous years, my body was frail and sickly, [thus] hated fragrant wine,

Today, with the cup before me, I am only afraid the fragrant wine will run dry.

[Notes: “my inside have already shattered” refers to overwhelmed with grief. And Luan is a legendary bird, similar to a phoenix.]


《木兰花》                       Mù Lán Huā

城上風光鶯語亂,         (Chéng shàng fēng guāng yīng yǔ luàn)
城下煙波春拍岸。         (chéng xià yān bō chūn pāi àn)
綠楊芳草幾時休?        (Lǜ yáng fāng cǎo jǐ shí xiū)
淚眼愁腸先已斷。         (Lèi yǎn chóu cháng xiān yǐ duàn)

情懷漸覺成衰晚,         (Qíng huái jiàn jué chéng shuāi wǎn)
鸞鏡朱顏驚暗換。         (Luán jìng zhū yán jīng àn huàn)
昔年多病厭芳尊,         (Xī nián duō bìng yàn fāng zūn)
今日芳尊惟恐淺。         (jīn rì fāng zūn wéi kǒng qiǎn)


A poem of the Nothern Song Dynasty. The poem expresses the poet’s frustration and sorrows of how his political career has ended during his later years, and can also be said to express the suffering of decaying in one’s later years. The first two lines linking the overview of the city and the view down in the city, describes a rich dynamic that depicts the spring scenery. He sketches out the magnificent scene over the city, yet below in the city, he sketches out a scene of vastness, an image of spring water washing ashore. Allowing the reader to sense the looming gloom of the poet’s spring sorrows.

Spring is a time that makes one reminisce their times of pride, faced with such beautiful scenery, the poet has once experienced being in a high official position, but in contrast, spring time only pulls out those memories that he is not proud off, thus adding more suffering to the pain before him. The line “When will the green willow [that is] like endlessly fragrant grass subside?” expresses his desperation in wanting this hateful spring period to pass by as he now continues to drink to forget.

Poem and explanation translated from: http://big5.hwjyw.com/resource/content/2012/06/18/25054.shtml and http://xueke.maboshi.net/hy/tssc/c/sc/63706.html

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