Friday, February 10, 2012

Su Dongpo: Reminiscing about Antiquity at Red Cliff, To the Tune of Niannu Jiao 苏东坡:念奴娇 赤壁怀古

Su Dongpo (1037 – 1101), was a writer, calligrapher, and artist of the Song Dynasty.  He is regarded as one of the greatest poets in Chinese literary history and his poems are widely written by calligraphers. Here is one of them.

Eastwards the Great River flows,
Waves wash away all the gallant heroes
Through thousands of bygone years!
West of the ancient rampart they call it Red Cliff
Of the Three Kingdoms the battle field,
Remembered by the name of General Zhou.
Jagged rocks pierce the clouds,
Tempestuous waves lash the shore,
Whipping up thousands of layers of snow.
What hosts of heroes once there were
In such a splendid painting of mountain and river!
Imagine young General Zhou in those days,
Having Xiao Qiao, the bride so fair,
Majestic and spirited himself,
With a silk kerchief binding hair,
And a plume fan in hand,
Laughing and jesting,
While Cao Cao’s fleet was destroyed as planned.
Were I to visit the ancient Kingdom,
Sentimental, I would be laughed at,
And my hair turned grey earlier.
Life is but a dream,
Let me pour a libation
To the river with moonlight gleam!
苏东坡:念奴娇 赤壁怀古


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