Selected Poems of Li Ching Zhao. (1084 - after 1151)
Translated by Jack Regan. © Fall, 1988

The translations are of poems previously unpublished in English

   These poems are all based on standard song forms of the time. Just as "Amazing Grace" can be said to be to the tune of a Scotch bagpipe melody and "Sinner Man" can be said to be to the tune of Drunken Sailor, so all these poems are said to be to the tune of ....

To the tune of "The Barbarian Bodhisatva"

Slight breeze. Frail sun. Early spring.
Warm coat. Wrap up. Just the thing.

Waking up feeling slightly cold.
Plum blossoms at my temples ... old.

Hometown? Where is it?
All gone, just the high.

Deep Sea incense lit at bedtime.
The scent long gone but still the wine!

To the tune of "Pure Calm Joy"

Every year plum blossoms are scatter'd
drunkenly on the snow.

When the last blossom has fallen, no good
will come, we know.

This year, heaven's corner and the sea's edge...
Shhhh! Shhhhhh! No need of flowers... both temples white!

Look, the evening wind is getting stronger!
It will be hard to see the plum blossoms now!

To the tune of ... "Embellishments on Gathering Silk Worms"

Who planted the banana tree in front of the window?
Shadows fill the room. Shadows fill the room.

Leaves and hearts! Leaves and hearts! Freely turning, bride and groom.
Heavy heart on the pillow. At the third watch, the rain.

Splashing, sprinkling, dripping, dropping.
Unable to come and listen, my unfortunate northern groom.