Poem Without a Title 17


My poem evokes the madness of love. Words are chisels, and sounds are cudgels. The images of love drift like smoke over distant mountains, fragmentary, suffocating and blinding, a grosse fuge of allusive words justified by passion.

重帷深下莫愁堂,  zhòng wéi shēn xià mò chóu táng
卧后清宵细细长。  wò hòu qīng xiāo xì xì cháng
神女生涯原是梦,  shén nǚ shēng yá yuán shì mèng
小姑居处本无郎。  xiǎo gū jū chǔ běn wú láng
风波不信菱枝弱,  fēng bō bù xìn líng zhī ruò
月露谁教桂叶香?  yuè lòu shuí jiào guì yè xiāng
直道相思了无益,  zhí dào xiāng sī liǎo wú yì
未妨惆怅是清狂。  wèi fáng chóu chàng shì qīng kuáng

Heavy drapes encompass Miss Placid’s chamber
Behind the room, across the quiet night a long line sweeps
The goddess lives, deep in my dreams,
Not a groom in sight, where the little maid abides.
Rippling water, do not underestimate the water chestnut!
Ravishing moon, who teaches the cassia 1 to leave such a scent?
Perhaps the path to love is a fruitless one,
Avoiding heartbreak clearly has a crazy bent! 2


About the Calligraphy
重帷深下莫愁堂,卧后清宵细细长。Heavy drapes encompass Miss Placid’s chamber , Behind the room the quiet night a long line sweeps  (2 rows, 14 characters, Cursive Cao Script): M.O. Ndesandjo

1.  A magic tree that grew on the moon

2.  According to James J.Y. Liu, there is an ancient song about a beautiful girl called mò chóu (lterally ‘No worries’): Where does No Worries live?/ She lives west of the Rocky City./ A light boat rowed by two oars/Brings No Worries here fast. The goddess and little maid refer to the amorous Goddess of Wu and an abandoned girl in the classic song “Song of the Little Maid by the Green Creek” respectively (Where the door opens on the white water/A little way from the bridge/That’s the house of the Little Maid/Who lives alone without a lover)

Featured Image Credit

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