Friday, July 08, 2016

My idle dreams roam far, / To the southern land where spring is fragrant. - Li Yu #QotD

My Idle Dreams Roam Far (Gazing at the South)

My idle dreams roam far,
To the southern land where spring is fragrant.
Wind and strings play on a boat on the river's clear surface,
The city is full of catkins flying like light dust.
People are occupied admiring the flowers.
My idle dreams roam far,
To the southern land where autumn is clear.
For a thousand li over rivers and hills cold colours stretch far,
Deep in flowering reeds, a solitary boat is moored.
Beneath the bright moon, a flute plays in the tower.

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Li Yu was an early writer of Song dynasty lyrics, (ci in Chinese), a much more fluid form than those used by the great Tang poets. His works often express strong romantic or nostalgic feelings; they bear the title only of the tune to which they were sung. Here they are identified by their first line in English. (from the website)

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Book at right is from the Ancient Chinese Book collection, Shanghai Library and note related to the poem

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