Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rain

By Jiang Jie (蔣捷 1245-1310? )x

Once when young I lay and listened
To the rain falling on the roof
Of a brothel. The candle light
Gleamed on silk and silky flesh.
Later I heard it on the
Cabin of a small boat
On the Great River, under
Low clouds, where wild geese cried out
On the Autumn storm. Now I
Hear it again on the monastery
Roof. My hair has turned white.
Joy – sorrow-parting-meeting
Are all as though they had
Never been. Only the rain
Is the same, falling in streams
On the tiles, all through the night.
少年聽雨歌樓上,
紅燭昏羅帳。
壯年聽雨客舟中,
江闊雲低斷雁叫西風。
而今聽雨僧廬下,
鬢已星星也。
悲歡離合總無情,
一任階前點滴到天明。

Eliot Weinberger trans., The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, New Directions Publishing, 2004, p. 180.

Jiang Jie obtained the jinshi (doctoral) degree in 1275. After the fall of the Southern Song dynasty to the Mongols in 1276, he rejected office and took up a life in seclusion. (The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, 1986, p. 259.)

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