Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Liu Yong (987-1053)

Partridge Omen

瑞 鷓 鴣
寶 髻 瑤 簪
嚴 妝 巧
天 然 綠 媚 紅 深
綺 羅 叢 里
獨 呈 謳 吟
一 曲 陽 春 定 價
何 啻 值 千 金
傾 聽 外
王 孫 帝 子
鶴 蓋 成 陰
凝 態 掩 霞 襟
動 象 板聲 聲
怨 思 難 任
嘹 亮 外
迴 壓 弦 管 低 沉
時 憑 迴 眸 斂 黛
空 役 五 陵 心
須 信 道
緣 情 寄 意
別 有 知 音

Jewelled hair-coil
green jasper pin
she’s skilfully presented
in natural green
radiant red
amply lined with ruffled silk
she sings just one song:
a song worth more than gold
beloved of emperors and nobles
focused on the melody
she hides her blushes
swaying to the sound of castanets
but can’t quite manage
to conceal her distress
her singing rises loud and clear
answering the moan of strings and pipes
at times her dark eyes
seem to return the gaze
of one or other in the audience
enslaving hearts
but each must understand
the longings that her song reveals
are there for someone else.
Liu Yong presents an active situation with a narrative. His subject is the contrast between the seductiveness of the singing girl’s performance and her private thoughts. The all-male audience may be aroused into pangs of desire, but her role-playing is the truth of the poem. Has her “true” lover  deserted her?     
“O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?”  (Yeats)

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