Autumn Winds (after Li Po)

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Autumn Winds (after Li Po)

Clear autumn winds swirl
below the moon’s glow,
scattering the gathered leaves.
The startled crows return.
When will we see each other again?
This hour, this lonely night, my feelings grow brittle.

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Autumn wind clear
Autumn moon bright
Fall leaves gather and scatter
Jackdaw perch again startle
Each think each see know what day
This hour this night hard be feeling

I started this adaptation in the heart of summer, hoping that it would offer a respite from the unrelenting Texas heat…

Bird Fall MGD©

64 thoughts on “Autumn Winds (after Li Po)

  1. It’s so interesting to “see” how the transliteration works out in someone’s mind. I would not have been able to “get” a missing person from “Each think each see know what day…” Thanks, Artsyberger

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  2. Oh, how I love this…and the last line is worth the price of admission! Just an excellent adaptation! On another front, your book will be shipped tomorrow (Thursday). And about time, too! The cover is a little grungy. Use your best “cover cleaning” skills…I’m afraid I would make a mess of it!

    Best,

    Ron

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  3. I love the turn in your poem, and the last line is brilliant. I look forward to reading more from you.

    I remember the Texas heat, but because it is in the 100s here in southern California today, remembering doesn’t take much effort

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  4. Lovely adaptation. Somehow, it reminded me of “Der Lindenbaum.”

    Li Po’s original intent is his own. The transliteration is stark and stripped down, but there’s still something there from which other poets may distill a true essence of the human condition.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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  5. I’m overwhelmed that you can craft these–too great a challenge for this gal, I dare say. And TX heat–my beloved cousin lives there, but she’d have pay me to fly down. I don’t know how y’all survive, truly.

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  6. Pingback: Mellowing into Fall: Essay and Photos | Leigh's Wordsmithery

  7. 秋風詞 Autumn Wind Verse

    作詞:唐 – 李白 Libretto: Tang Dynasty, Li Bai
    作曲:民初山東王魯賓傳譜 (梅庵琴谱)

    *秋風清,秋月明,
    *落葉聚還散,寒鴉棲復驚,
    *相思相見知何日,此時此夜難為情。

    入我相思門,知我相思苦,
    長相思兮長相憶,短相思兮無窮極,
    早知如此絆人心,何如當初莫相識。

    Above are the two original verses of Li Bai’s lyrics to a traditional tune. A lot of people only know of the first verse (in asterisks). My ‘translation’ of it:

    As the autumn wind lays bare
    As the autumn moon reveals
    Fallen leaves gather yet scatter
    Roosted crows fly from their shelter
    Thinking of each other
    Wishing we’re together
    But know not when
    Right at this moment
    Right on this night
    Love is hard to bear

    The second verse speaks of longings so unbearable that the poet laments: If I had known how this would grip my heart, it might have been better that we’d never met.

    Liked by 1 person

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