mjj (flemmings) wrote,

It is quiet in the screens, there is no one to talk to

 Oh, here it is. Rather where I expected it to be, in the Chinese poetry collection Huajian ji xu (among the flowers), edited by Ouyang Jiong. This one is by Wen Tingyun.

The moon rises on high, shining in the sky at midnight
It is quiet in the screens, there is no one to talk to
In the deep recesses, incense still lingers
As she sleeps, she wears a trace of make-up.

Long ago she held her flowering beauty dear
But how can she endure memories of the past?
The flowers wither, and the moonlight fades
Under the quilts she feels the cold of days.

The collection is all qi poetry, verses written to set tunes. As if a whole bunch of people had written new lyrics to Greensleeves, as the translator says. The theme of all Wen's poetry, at least, seems close to Kipling's Queen Elizabth

The Queen was in her chamber, and she was middling old.
Her petticoat was satin, and her stomacher was gold.
Backwards and forwards and sideways did she pass,
Making up her mind to face the cruel looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As comely or as kindly or as young as what she was!

Beauties faded by time and abandoned by their lovers, mainly.
The poem that has qingming day in it is the previous one in the series; I was conflating them.
Tags: china, verse

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