Eugene Levich

Poem To The Tune “the Green Jade Wine Bowl” By Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072 Ce) - Translation By Eugene Levich - Poem by Eugene Levich

How many spring time pleasures may one enjoy?
I’ve delighted already in so many this year.
The dark green leaves and bright red flowers here please me, yet...
Beyond the courtyard’s green poplar tree hangs a curtain
fluttering in the warm breeze.
It screens a chamber within which I rest, haggard and pale.
How can buying flowers and lifting wine bowls in Chang’an City
compare with seeing the peach and plum blossoms of my native village?
It isn’t strange that the east wind brings tears to this traveler’s eyes.
My love is difficult to express.
My confused dreams find no place to rest.
Only in returning home will I find true peace.

青玉案 Qing1 yu4 an4

歐陽修 Ou1yang2 Xiu1

一年春事都來幾 Yi1 nian2 chun1 shi4 dou1 lai2 ji3
早過了三之二 Zao3 guo4 liao3, san1 zhi1 er4
綠暗紅嫣渾可事 Lü4 an4 hong2 yan1 hun2 ke3 shi4
綠楊庭院暖風簾幕 Lü4 yang2 ting2 yuan4 nuan3 feng1 lian2 mu4
有箇人憔悴 You3 ge1 ren2 qiao2 cui4
買花載酒長安市 Mai3 hua1 zai4 jiu3 Chang2an1 shi4
又爭似家山見桃李 You4 zheng1 si4 jia1 shan1 jian4 tao2 li3
不枉東風吹客淚 Bu4 wang3 dong1 feng1 chui1 ko4 lei4
相思難表 Xiang1 se1 nan2 biao3
夢魂無據 Meng4 Hun2 wu2 ju4
惟有歸來是 Wei2 you3 gui1 lai2 shi4

Topic(s) of this poem: drinking, homesickness

Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem may be read either literally or metaphorically. I prefer the metaphorical interpretation because of the wine bowl in the title (which originates from a line of poetry by the Han dynasty astronomer Zhang Heng,79-139 CE—the title later being given to a song) , and the reference to drinking wine in Chang’an (the former capital of China) . My impression is that the “haggard and pale” author is recovering from a hangover after one too many wine-soaked parties with female courtesans (“buying flowers”) . A literal or a metaphorical interpretation may be given to the rest of this poem as well. This Song dynasty ci style poetry is very different from the earlier Tang dynasty shi style. Note that this poem is very emotional and is written in lines of different length. It is, unusually, rather sparse on rhyme. It is much more of a “free verse” than the earlier style, though it is based on music from Central Asia that had become the “in thing” at court, the music itself having strict rules.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, November 15, 2015

Poem Edited: Sunday, November 15, 2015

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