Posted by: hyacinthus | September 1, 2007

24 More Days to Mid-Autumn Festival

…and 10 more days before the seventh lunar month ends. But, mooncakes are already on sale everywhere!

I used an ancient Chinese poet’s poem (which was sang into a popular song by the late Teresa Teng) here as it’s still the seventh lunar month (also known as the ghosts’ month – which is apt as both are dead) and I bought mooncakes (snowskin durian and blueberry cheese from Marriott). Before that, maybe you want to read about the story of mid-autumn festival printed on the box of mooncakes

btw, mid-autumn festival falls on 25 September this year or 15th day of the 8th lunar month. 🙂

Here’s the poem that’s usually associated with the mid-autumn festival and translation in English.

水调歌头

苏轼

丙辰中秋欢饮达旦,大醉作此篇,兼怀子由。②

  明月几时有?把酒问青天。不知天上宫阙,今夕是何年。我欲乘风归去,又恐琼楼玉宇,高处不胜寒, 起舞弄清影,何似在人间。

  转朱阁,抵绮户,照无眠。不应有恨,何事偏向别时圆。人有悲欢离合,月有阴晴圆缺,此事古难全。 但愿人长久,千里共婵娟。

【注释】

  ①大曲《水调歌》的首段,故曰“歌头”。双调,九十五字,平韵。
  ②丙辰:熙宁九年(1076)。苏辙字子由。 
  ③李白 《把酒问天》:“青天有月来几时?我今停杯一问之。” 
  ④牛僧孺《周秦行纪》:“共道人间惆怅事,不知今夕是何 年。” 
  ⑤司马光《温公诗话》记石曼卿诗:“月如无恨月 长圆。” 
  ⑥婵娟:美丽的月光。

【简析】

  词人运用形象描绘的手法,勾勒出一种皓月当空、美人千里、孤高旷远的境氛围,把自己遗世独立意绪和往昔的神话传说融合一处,在月的阴晴圆缺当中,渗进浓厚的哲学意味,可以说是一首将自然和社会高度契合的感喟作品。此词通篇咏月,却处处关合人事。上片借明月自喻孤高,下片用圆月衬托别情,它构思奇特,畦径独辟,极富有浪漫主义色彩,是苏词的代表作之一。

The English translation taken from this site.

The Moon Festival
Su shi (The Poet’s name)


Bright moon, when was your birth?
Winecup in hand, I ask the deep blue sky;
Not knowing what year it is tonight
In those celestial palaces on high. I long to fly back one the wind,
Yet dread those crystal towers, those courts of jade,
Freezing to death among those icy heights!
Instead I rise to dance with my pale shadow;
Better off, after all, in the world of men.

Rounding the red pavilion,
Stooping to look through gauze windows,
She shines on the sleepless.
The moon should know no sadness;
Why, then, is she always full when dear ones are parted?
For men the grief of parting, joy of reunion,
Just as the moon wanes and waxes, is bright or dim:
Always some flaw-and so it has been since of old.
My one wish for you, is long life
And a share in this loveliness far, far away!

*This is a famous Mid-Autumn lyric written for his brother Zi-you(1039-1112) when the poet was away from the imperial court. According to some commentators, “the palace on high” might allude to the imperial palace and therefore, after reading this lyrics, Emperor Song Shen Zong said that Su Shi was loyal.
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