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  • Gordon Osing and Julia Min

点绛唇 · 寂寞深闺 In the lonely chambers a heart of night silence

点绛唇 · 寂寞深闺







几点催花雨。 倚遍栏干,





In the lonely chambers a heart of night silence

- to the tune of Dianjiangchun

Swinging, and Swinging Done - to the tune of Dianjiangchun 点绛唇 · 蹴把秋千 Liqingzhao
Photo retrieved from Google / Baidu

Translated by Gordon Osing and Julia Min

In the lonely chambers a heart of night silence

labors the pieces of sorrow to countless strands.

Blossoms are hurried to their fates by the rains.

I cherish a Spring vanishing with her scents.

Where’s our spring joy, my heart's friend?

Over and over the rails, till each day ends!

Grasses will wither and weave sky to land

before my gaze abandons your road's end.


This ci is thought belonging to the earlier and happier period of the poet's life, before 1107. Her longing for her absent husband is obviously revealed. Poems like this are noted for their absence of modesty and reserve from a lady of upper class in the Song dynasty. She is all but breaking custom in declaring her love for her husband so openly, or, as the Westerner might say, erotically. She is at the edge and beyond the edge of Confucian propriety, but some artistic allowance has to be made for such a gifted poet's romantic expressions, even in feudal China. Confucian philosophy held that only the man may make overt romantic statements, and even these in coded similes and hyperboles. Li Qingzhao's young married life was intensely lived, in union and in separations, exemplary in its bonding, we may also say.


lù nóng huā shòu – thick dews and tiny buds, the beginning of high spring;

qīng yī – light dress made of brocade, gauze or very light fabric;

yǐ mén huí shǒu – can’t resist the urge of looking back at the visitor, a naughty tongue-in-cheek, arch and even disproportionate for someone of her class.

Pinying and Word -For-Word Translation:

diǎn jiàng chún – to the tune of Dianjiangchun

cù bà qiū qiān – after playing on the swing,

qǐ lái yōng zhěng xiān xiān shǒu – get up lazy to tidy up delicate hands.

lù nóng huā shòu – the dews are heavy, flower buds tiny,

báo hàn qīng yī tòu – steaming sweat light dress is wet through.

jiàn yǒu rén lái – noticed someone coming,

wà chǎn jīn chāi liū – walk on socks my gold hairpin slip off

hé xiū zǒu - so shy, skip away.

yǐ mén huí shǒu – leaning on the door, look back,

què bǎ qīng méi xiù – but hold green plum to scent.


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