by Wang Yucheng 王禹偁 (954-1001)
In the sorrowful rain and saddening clouds,
The land south to the River is still a beauty as ever.
From the waterside village and the fishing market,
A lone tress of smoke snakes upward.
A file of expeditionary geese stitched together
Worms along the edge of sky.
All the events will be uneventful when a life
Is transfixed at this moment, while no one
Would understand another leaning over a balustrade.
Pronunciation of Pinyin and tone note
Original Text with word-to-word translation
雨rain恨sorrow, hate 云cloud愁sad
江the River南south依旧as before称matchable, be called佳good丽beautiful
一one缕thread, a lock (tress) of 孤lone烟smoke细thin
天sky际edge征expeditionary, conquering鸿swan goose
遥distant认recognize行file, row如like, as if缀connected, stitched
This Ci-poem (lyrics) is perhaps the very first among this genre of poetry in Northern Song Dynasty of China, as this genre of ci-poem is the representative form of poetry in China (as comparable with regulated poems in Tang Dynasty). This is also the most representative of this poet’s oeuvre, although he had only this one recorded in Complete Ci-Poems in Song Dynasty which collected over 20 thousand pieces. Whenever there is 凭栏(pinglan) (lean on the balustrade) in Chinese poems, the image should be read as one standing before a balustrade of a pavilion on a terrace or a mountain top (sometimes before a cliff facing a gorge or valley). This is a traditional image of one who holds a very high aspiration but at present finding no ways to realize.
Selected Works of Wang Yucheng
About the Author:
王禹偁 Wang Yucheng (954-1001), a poet, prose writer of Song Dynasty in ancient China, with a style name of Yuanzhi, was born into a very poor family in the present Shandong Province. He was very diligent and hardworking, and upon passing the highest imperial examination, he was appointed to a county official in 983 AD. The next year, he was promoted to the county magistrate of the present Suzhou, which belongs to the central part of the traditional Land South to the River (江南 River South). He suffered several ups and downs in his short career, due to literary inquisition. His poems and prose advocated a style of plainness and easiness.