Thursday, November 18, 2010

Song of Yue - Song Lian

Better known for his prose and role as a high court-official in the administration of the first Ming Dynasty Emperor, Song Lian was also charged with compiling the official history of the previous dynasty (Yuan).  This little poem comes by way of a small book of Chinese love poems edited by Qiu Xialong, about whom I've written earlier.  This streak of Chinese poems is not entirely intentional.  Tonight, I read poetry by Mary Oliver and several Brazilian poets looking for one that would be appealing, but was not successful.  

I chose this one for its perfect use of a pair of scissors to express separation and joining.  It's so simple, so elegant..... and written almost 800 years ago!  I am continually mindful of how emotional states know no boundaries of time or culture.  We yearn, we love, we mourn the same way, irrespective of time and place. 


Song of Yue
                            transl. from Chinese by Qiu Xialong

It is not just a day or night that I have
missed you, Lord.
It is like a broken pair
of Bingzhou scissors –
one blade is far in the south, and the other,
far in the north.
When can the pair
be joined to cut out a wedding gown?

                                                    Song Lian  - Chinese 1310-1381

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