一首夜吟醉夢鄉 – Sighing in the Night, Dreaming of Home


065廣寒1無心照花香, The moon did not shine because the flowers are fragrant,
默對蓮塘醉夢鄉.  Silently upon the lotus pond I gaze in drunken stupor, dreaming of home.
枕上葉下2常樂伴,   On the pillow, under the leaves, forever together in bliss,
眼前飛來幾片霜3.   Then a few flakes of frost came fluttering before my very eyes.

  1. Literally, the “Grand Cold”, name of the lunar palace.
  1. It is quite confusing if you don’t know traditional culture.  Traditionally, on the pillows, a pair of Mandarin ducks is depicted under some lotus to denote conjugal bliss.  Here the comparison is cast between reality and the imaginary.  The real pond is empty because the plant grows only during summer.
  1. Can mean tears.

Of course, this is the result of many reincarnations spanning over a period of time.  I am not good enough to pen such a poem immediately.  It is the seed of an imagery that after tender loving care has now bloomed.  The original idea was conceived on October 07, 2014.

蟾宮寒意桂花香,  The Toad Palace is cold and the Osmanthus is fragrant,
荷池默對綠紗窗.  The lotus pond gaze silently at the green gauze window.
枕上鴛鴦常樂伴,  On the pillow, the Mandarin ducks are in eternal bliss,
驚破思緒幾片霜   Suddenly my thoughts broken by a few flakes of frost.

The idea and rhyming scheme are there but I find it to be too direct.  Later thinking, I had the last line changed to,

眼前忽落幾片霜. Suddenly before my eyes, a few flakes of frost floating down.

On 08 Oct, the first line was changed to

廣寒無意見桂香, The moon unintentionally saw the fragrance of the moon.

Something is still amiss and the elegance I sought is not there.  Almost two weeks later on 21 Oct, it was morphed into this form,

廣寒無意照花香   The moon did not shine because the flowers are fragrant,
默對蓮塘醉家鄉.  Gazing silently at the lotus pond, in drunken stupor I think of home
枕上葉下常樂伴,  On the pillow, under the leaves, forever together in eternal bliss
眼前飄来幾片霜.   Suddenly, before my eyes, a few frost flakes came wafting by.

Finally on 01 Nov, On the second line, was changed into as I think it is more elegant and on the last line,  飄 into  because the new character is easier for me to write with a brush.  There is no change in tone of this replaced character.

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2 thoughts on “一首夜吟醉夢鄉 – Sighing in the Night, Dreaming of Home

  1. Thank you for creating your own classical Chinese poem. I appreciate you allowing us to watch your process of writing the poem. On the whole I like the poem and the commentary, especially your explanation of the cultural background, something I am sorely lacking.

    Why did you switch from 無意 to 無心 in the final version? I think your original 無意 works quite well here.

    The last line does give me a problem. I’ve never seen frost flakes fly through the air. It may be true scientifically, but to the usual human senses, I don’t think so. I think it’s pushing the imagery of frost flakes a bit too far. Yes, for rhyming purposes, 霜 fits, but as poetic imagery in this context, no.

    I hope you continue writing and sharing your poems with us. Your blog is a treasure chest for my own education in classical Chinese. I look forward to more from you. Thanks again.

    • Thank you for your compliments. It’s just a hobby of mine. Also I have other earlier similar ones to delve into my thinking process. This way I have a record and see if I can get better inspirations. My main blog is Jeffinous.Blogspot.com

      I am also studying classical Chinese and learn how to write with a brush too 🙂 Hopefully, with common interest, we can share our thoughts on 🙂

      I changed from 意 to 心 because of three reasons. The #1 is that 意 implies a purpose while 心 has no intention. The second is to contrast the tone with that of the first line in the same position and finally, writing of 意 with a brush is more difficult for me.

      Anyway, I had polished the poem again but didn’t have the time to post it. The changes are indicated by the enclosed slashes. I had changed 醉夢鄉 because I wanted to use this one in another poem. Hopefully, I will post that one soon 🙂

      廣寒無心照花香,
      默對蓮塘/思故/鄉.
      枕上鴛鴦常/相/伴,
      眼前飛來幾片霜.

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