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  • Julia Min

浣溪沙 . 楼上晴天碧四垂 The upstairs is bathed in sky blue on all sides

浣溪沙 . 楼上晴天碧四垂









(注: 此词的尾韵不宜用普通话读,我试着用粤语来读感觉更适宜,尤其是‘涯’字该是/ai/音。同理,杜甫的《登高》中“酒杯’也该用粤语的/ui/来读。宋朝的汉子官方读音可能在客家人多且交通不便的广东地区得以留存。)

The upstairs is bathed in sky blue on all sides

- to the tune of Huanxisha

written by: Li Qingzhao / Anonymous

trans. by: Julia Min

The upstairs is bathed in blue on all sides.

the green lawn in front linking the skyline.

The higher you are, the further out of my sight.

Spring blooms are turned to mud for nesting high,

bamboo shoots growing into trees in my daily gaze.

As if not enough, here comes the cuckoos’ loud cries.


Usually I would restructure the three-line stanza into four lines in English but here I chose to remain faithful to the original for a different feel on the rhyming pattern. Do you feel it?

If this were Li Qingzhao’s work, it would have been written to her usual subject of a strong yearning for her husband who was away on his official trip to a higher post probably after the New Year reunion. It’s now early summer, and her longings gets stronger for her husband coming home. The structure moves from the distant view in the first stanza to her home life nearby, a yin and yang balance.

Again she refers to lines by some popular poets, and more appealingly, the symbolic implications in the concluding lines with swallow and the Cuckoo birds. Swallow nest in Chinese hints the love nest, while cuckoo birds’ cries are often used to imply the longing for home -- here, her longing for him to come home.


1.  李清照文集 作者:(北宋)李清照著,刘振鹏
2   《李清照集笺注》李清照撰,徐培均笺注; 2002年上海古籍出版社


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