Su Dongpo: Yesterday’s Sunrise at the Eastern City Wall: (Waves Dredge the Sand)

Yesterday’s Sunrise at the Eastern City Wall: (Waves Dredge the Sand)

浪 淘 沙:昨 日 出 东 城
昨 日 出 东 城
试 探 春 情。
墙 头 红 杏 暗 如 倾。
槛 内 群 芳 芽 未 吐
早 已 回 春。
绮 陌 敛 香 尘
雪 霁 前 村。
东 君 用 意 不 辞 辛。
料 想 春 光 先 到 处
吹 绽 梅 英。
Lang Tao Sha: Zuo Ri Chu Dong Cheng

Zuo ri chu dong cheng
Shi tan chun qing.
Qiang tou hong xing an ru qing.
Kan nei qun fang ya wei tu
Zao yi hui chun.

Qi mo lian xiang chen
Xue ji qian cun.
Dong jun yong yi bu ci xin.
Liao xiang chun guang xian dao chu
Chui zhan mei ying.

 

Yesterday’s Sunrise at the Eastern City Wall: (Waves Dredge the Sand)

Yesterday’s sunrise at the eastern city wall
Explore spring conditions.
Side of the city wall, red apricot buds dark and drooping down.
Inside, a fence with a group of fragrant buds, yet to open
For a long time, spring waiting to return.

Exquisite footpaths collect the fragrances of dust and pretty women
In front of the village, the snows clear up.
Springtime immortal’s purpose has yet to be realized.
I anticipate that when early spring sights and sounds come from everywhere
Chinese plum blossoms will burst open and blow in the wind.

 

Commentary:

I gave the first line of this poem as the title. The official title, Lang Tao Sha, Waves Dredge the Sand, is the title of the melody that this poem uses. The poem is meant to be sung. This ancient Chinese poetic form is called the ci. These poems have the melody as it’s title, and then the first line of the poem can be used as a subtitle. This is done because many of the poems would otherwise all have the same title.

The closest thing to ci poems in the modern American tradition might be something like the songs and lyrics of Bob Dylan. The recent Nobel Prize winner in literature wrote most of his poems to a melody. The first 26 of the poems in this section of Su Dongpo are ci poems.

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