Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Lantern Festival

Today is the Chinese Lantern Festival. This is an English 
translation of the poem referred to in the post, Meaning in Language. 
The Lantern Festival
--A Lyric Verse by Xin Qiji (1140-1207)

Lanterns look like thousands of flowers aglow;
Later like stars, from the skies, fallen below.
On main streets, horses and carriages ply.
There, ladies shed perfume, as they pass by.
Orchestral music and song greet our ears,
As the moon, slow and steady, eastward veers.
Of the Spring Festival, this night marks the end.
The whole night, capering, carps and dragons spend.
Adorned with ribbons or paper flowers on their head,
Clad in their best raiment, something bright or red,
Women squeeze their way among the festive crowd,
As they talk and laugh; even giggle aloud.
Rouged and powdered; perfumed to their heart's content,
They cannot but leave behind a subtle scent.
Up and down the main streets, I must have run—
A thousand times or more in quest of one, 
Who I have concluded, cannot be found;
For, everywhere, no trace of her can be seen,
When, all of a sudden, I turned about,
That's her, where lanterns are few and far between.

Hundreds and thousands of times, 
For her I searched in chaos, suddenly, 
I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, 
And there she stood!

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