春江花月夜: Spring Blossoms On The Moonlit River (by 张若虚 Zhang Ruo Xu)

*poem mentioned in Chaos of Beauty chapter thirty-two

This poem is considered by many to be the most beautiful Chinese poem, and has been adapted into famous music and dance pieces.

{{Spring Blossoms On The Moonlit River}}

Tides of the spring river washes into the levelled ocean,

And with the tide, a luminous moon is born above sea surface.

Shimmering with the waves for thousands of li,

Where is there no moonlight gracing this spring river!?

The river snakes around the lush green fields,

Moon shining upon the flower filled forest, making all appear like sleet.

Flowing frost from the sky appears not to be drifting,

The white sand of river banks cannot be seen.

River and sky becomes one, with not the finest of dust,

Shining brightly in the sky is that lone wheel of a moon.

By this riverside, what person was first to see the moon?

This river’s moon, what year did it first shine upon the people?

Generations after generations of human life, not at all does it depletes,

The river’s moon is still the same year after year.

It is unknown for who this river’s moon awaits for,

Only seeing this long river sending off its flowing water.

A spread of white clouds vaguely fades far into the distance,

Such unbearable sorrows of parting by Qing Feng Riverside.

Which family’s little boat is drifting along the rivers tonight? (Referring to a man out journeying)

Where is the yearning love in the moonlit tower? (Referring to his wife’s longing for him at home)

Pitiful it is, the lingering moonlight illuminating the tower,

It should be reflecting the one who left in the dresser table mirror.

Unable to roll it away from the jade-like chamber with the closing of blinds,

Brushed away on the clothes pounding stone it is, but still comes back.

(The moon shines in as though it understands the pain of longing, but should the moon really understand her sorrows then it should let the lady see her lover in the mirror to ease her longing, instead its lingering presence only adds to her yearnings)

In this moment, both gazes at the moon, but unable they are to hear each other,

Only wishing the brilliance of the moon is shining upon the dear husband.

Swans and geese flies long distances but cannot fly beyond the light,

Fishes and [marine] reptiles dives and jumps but only forms ripples in the water.

(Swans and geese and fly far but cannot fly to him, fishes and marine reptiles can swim deep into the water but cannot swim to him)

Dreaming of flowers descending upon the tranquil pool last night,

Pitiful it is, half of spring has past yet there is still no return.

The running river water flowing by, along with spring,

Into the river pool, the descending moon goes, tilting west again.

The setting moon hiding deeply into the ocean mist,

Jie Shi and Xiao Xiang, the distance between is infinite. (One place south, one place north, rendering a reunion hopeless)

It is unknown how many people managed to return home riding the moonlight,

Only knowing the descending moon stirs immense emotions amongst the trees by the riverbank.

 


《春江花月夜》                           Chūn Jiāng Huā Yuè Yè

春江潮水连海平,                       (Chūn jiāng cháo shuǐ lián hǎi píng)

海上明月共潮生。                       (Hǎi shàng míng yuè gòng cháo sheng)

滟滟随波千万里,                       (Yàn yàn suí bō qiān wàn lǐ)

何处春江无月明!                         (Hé chù chūn jiāng wú yuè míng)


江流宛转绕芳甸,                       (Jiāng liú wǎn zhuǎn rào fāng diān)

月照花林皆似霰;                         (Yuè zhào huā lín jiē shì sǎn)

空里流霜不觉飞,                       (Kōng lǐ liú shuāng bù jué fēi)

汀上白沙看不见。                       (Tīng shàng bái shā kàn bù jiàn)


江天一色无纤尘,                       (Jiāng tiān yī sè wú xiān chén)

皎皎空中孤月轮。                       (Jiǎo jiǎo kōngzhōng gū yuè lún)

江畔何人初见月?                       (Jiāng pàn hé rén chū jiàn yuè)

江月何年初照人?                       (Jiāng yuè hé niánchū zhào rén)


人生代代无穷已,                       (Rén shēng dài dài wú qióng yǐ)

江月年年望相似。                       (Jiāng yuè nián nián wàng xiāng sì)

不知江月待何人,                       (Bù zhī jiāng yuè dài hé rén)

但见长江送流水。                       (Dàn jiàn cháng jiāng sòng liú shuǐ)


白云一片去悠悠,                       (Bái yún yī piàn qù yōu yōu)

青枫浦上不胜愁。                       (Qīng fēng pǔ shàng bù shèng chóu)

谁家今夜扁舟子?                       (Shuí jiā jīn yè piān zhōu zi)

何处相思明月楼?                       (Hé chù xiāng sī míng yuè lóu)


可怜楼上月徘徊,                       (Kě lián lóu shàng yuè pái huái)

应照离人妆镜台。                       (Yīng zhào lí rén zhuāng jìng tái)

玉户帘中卷不去,                       (Yù hù lián zhōng juǎn bù qù)

捣衣砧上拂还来。                       (Dǎo yī zhēn shàng fú hái lái)


此时相望不相闻,                       (Cǐ shí xiāng wàng bù xiāng wén)

愿逐月华流照君。                       (Yuàn zhú yuè huá liú zhào jūn)

鸿雁长飞光不度,                       (Hóng yàn zhǎng fēi guāng bù dù)

鱼龙潜跃水成文。                       (Yú lóng qián yuè shuǐ chéng wén)


昨夜闲潭梦落花,                       (Zuó yè xián tán mèng luò huā)

可怜春半不还家。                       (Kě lián chūn bàn bù hái jiā)

江水流春去欲尽,                       (Jiāng shuǐ liú chūn qù yù jǐn)

江潭落月复西斜。                       (Jiāng tán luò yuè fù xī xié)


斜月沉沉藏海雾,                       (Xié yuè chén chén cáng hǎi wù)

碣石潇湘无限路。                       (Jié shí xiāo xiāng wú xiàn lù)

不知乘月几人归,                       (Bù zhī chéng yuè jǐ rén guī)

落月摇情满江树。                       (Luò yuè yáo qíng mǎn jiāng shù)


Spring Blossoms On The Moonlit River is composed by Zhang Ruo Xu, a poet from the Tang Dynasty. The poem is comprised of thirty six lines, each line rhythmically made up of seven characters (although this aspect is completely lost through translation), creatively reproducing the night scenery of Jiangnan’s spring season, whilst painting the picture of the Yangtze River under the brilliance of the moonlight, he is also delivering the bitter pain of parting and longing, such thoughts of wanting to return home as he thinks of how his beloved must feel.

Poem and explanation translated from: http://baike.baidu.com/subview/29752/5072069.htm

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