One Sunny Spring Saturday in Southern California


Another winter had passed.  It is now spring.  A sunny day indeed in Southern California but under the bamboo grove, the blowing wind is cold.  As I sat and admired the garden scenery sipping my hot cup of Chinese tea and listening to the Butterfly Concerto performed by Vanessa Mae, I can’t help but to ponder what’s up in the heavens.

Surely eternal youth and beauty are there without physical pains or aches from this mortal world.  At least this is the image that I am led to believe.  How great it is to be an immortal without Old Age nibbling away at Youth and without the worries if one had all the 10401 entries correctly filled out for the dreaded looming tax day of April the fifteenth!  How I all hate the IRS!  I suppose that’s the price to pay to live in an almost weather paradise of a sunny Southern California.  Now you know the reason of my being in the garden.

I long to be a denizen of that upper world.  However, on a second thought, beware of what you wished for.  I should be grateful and satisfied with all the good things my life had brought me. I am sure that there are plenty of others who would envy the kind of life I have now.  At least I am not in some war torn country nor a disease ravaged place.  I should be counting my blessings instead and not bemoaning such trifles as the IRS.

Once more my mind is drifted to the ethereal realm for a quick respite.  I needed the break from the daily drudgery of the week.  Jeff, Jeff, Jeff! Can’t blame you for thinking otherwise.  After all you are a human being and yes, each and every one of us do have dreams.  Without them, life even with material comfort will not soothe the restless mind.  Fantasy journeys are good for our mental health; as long as they don’t become an opiate.  So stop your yearnings.  Write some poetry instead!

蝴蝶兒花香,         Oh butterflies, the fragrance of flowers is weak
春日和風来冷.    A warm spring day but the blowing wind is cold.
瑶池2仙子無3,       The fairy from the Jade Pool without a companion,
黄臉4凡妻難比! Can hardly be compared to that of an aged wife!

So I fibbed!  Actually, I am in the office, longing to be out there in the warm sunshine but alas…  It is also true that I am listening to the repeated Vanessa’s Mae’s violin playing with my headphones on as I try to seek inspiration to write something as I am waiting for the computer to finish its processing…  I hate idle minds.  Better to finish things quickly here and get out of this air conditioned place and literally fly to my garden sanctuary before the sun goes down!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

  1. 1.  The number of the US income tax form.
  2. Paradise.
  3.  It can also mean that no one is good enough [for her]
  4.  Literally “yellow face”.

The characters in red was changed on Thursday,  April 23, 2015

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2 thoughts on “One Sunny Spring Saturday in Southern California

  1. I enjoyed your off-the-cuff poem. Just a couple of questions for my edification. Is 瑶池 the term for Paradise in general or specifically to the abode of a certain goddess? Why include the word “warm” in your English translation of the second line? Why not just “A spring day…?” Thanks.

    The only thing more dreadful than an IRS 1040 form is the CRA Individual Tax Return, i.e., the Canadian Revenue Agency is the Canadian version of the IRS.

    • Thanks! I love comments 🙂 瑶池, the Jade Pool is the name of a magical pool in the garden of the Queen Mother of Western Paradise西王母 and so it can be used as a poetic synonym for paradise. If I just used “paradise” in the translation, then the local/cultural flavour is lost. This is a fine line and a headache for translating poetry.

      Spring days can be cold! I have to include “warm” in the translation to emphasize and contrast with the “cold” blowing wind that is specifically given in the original. The first two lines paint conflicting scenes to set up the mood. Having butterflies conjures prettiness but there is the problem of the flowers not being fragrant, the warmth of spring being marred by the cold winds… These tie up nicely with the last two lines in summing up that it is only beautiful when loved.

      This reminded me of the lines from the classic Betty Davis’ movie, “Mr. Skeffington”,

      Job Skeffington: A woman is beautiful when she’s loved, and only then.

      Fanny Trellis Skeffington: Nonsense. A woman is beautiful when she has eight hours’ sleep and goes to the beauty parlor every day. And bone structure has a lot to do with it too.

      All IRSish agencies are a horror and bane to all modern citizens.

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