Saturday, May 17, 2014

Poems from the Classical Chinese tradition: Playlist for May 16, 2014

I am grateful to Michelle and Roman Gershkovich of Easton,CT for envisioning (translating) these five poems from the original Mandarin.

The Valley Spirit

Author:  Lu Yun who lived 262-303

I carry an existence outside all worldly concerns
In silent isolation dear to me; for, after all,
I close the door, and screen the windows with dried roots and ferns,
Living in harmony with winter, spring, summer, and fall:
Felt in my heart, these cosmic transformations take their course
And magnify my rustic home into a universe.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cavatina, from String Quartet No. 13 by Ludwig van Beethoven

  The Spring Night

Author:  Su Shi who lived 1037-1101

One thousand gold coins can't buy one hour of night in the spring:
The pale moonlight and the aroma of flowers abound;
The flutes and singing on the terrace weave the threads of sound
Suspending -- in the night -- the gliding of a garden swing.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Spirit of the Ink, by Alan Hovhaness


Author:  Li Pai  who lived 701-762

Immersed in drinking wine, I did not notice the twilight.
My robe is covered with the petals falling through the air.
Though drunk, I rise and walk across the valley of moonlight:
The birds have flown away, and people also appear rare.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Nocturne in D-flat, by Claude Debussy

 Harmony with Nature

Author:  Tu Fu  who lived 712-770

The flowers and I in the garden face a Spring sunrise.
Should others speak to me, I answer illogically.
When reading, I skip passages wrought with difficulty.
I keep my wine cup filled.  Birds are the envy of my eyes.
The hermit of Omei correctly conjectures the stature
This idleness of mine exemplifies:  it's true to nature.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Elegy by Heino Eller

 A Song of Spring

Author:  Liu Yu-hsi  who lived 772-842

Her face adorned, she comes down the vermilion tower.
Spring light fills the courtyard with sadness, being all walled in.
She walks towards the heart of the garden, looks at a flower --
A dragonfly flies up and alights on her jade hairpin.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Never Far Away, by Bright Cheng

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