Jinn, Qiu: Adding a Chinese Sensibility to Poetry

Qiu Jinn is a Chinese poet who lived from 1875 to 1907. A feminist, revolutionary, and poet, she was a seminal figure in Chinese poetry. She pawned her jewels to fight, learnt martial arts.

A River of Crimson: A Brief Stay in the Glorious Capital

A brief stay in the glorious Capital;
soon, it’s Mid-Autumn Festival again.
Sheltering by the fence, chrysanthemums bloom everywhere,
the autumn air cool and clear, as if freshly cleansed.
War songs from all four directions falter
as I finally break through the siege of encircling foes;
the aftertaste of these past eight years
makes me long wistfully for Zhejiang.
Bitterly forced to behave as a wife with painted brows,
I’m full of disdain!

Not a man in the flesh,
unable to walk among them;
but my heart is stronger,
more fierce than a man’s!
I think of my inner spirit,
stirring often with passion on others’ behalf.
How can narrow, uncultivated minds
comprehend my nature?
A hero at the path’s end
must suffer trials and tribulations.
In the vast, worldly dust, where can I find my soulmate?
My robe is stained with tears!

My heart is stronger, / more fierce than a man’s!”

I like the ‘wife with painted brows’ line – really conjures up a Chinese wife!

Spontaneous Thoughts
in the rhyme of Yu Xuanji’s poem following a verse on the three sisters Guang, Wei, and Pou

At the vanity table, I meet two immortal talents with delight.
On the travellers’ road, weeds adrift, until it’s March once more.
Facing the clear mirror, alone and bleak, my Black Bird hair.
Closing the window, I languish away as my jade-green gown loosens.

Ten lines of fine verse I admire, resting my hand on my chest.
A new scroll of poetry, flowing freely from deep within.
Daoyun, her eminence widespread like fragrance, sadly a woman.
Mulan, a free-spirited warrior, didn’t remain a man.

Who can carry on singing the refined notes of ‘White Snow’?
I blush with shame as I stride eagerly towards ‘Bright Spring’.
In the courtyard, lingering, the singsong of warblers.
Old nests remain and await returning swallows’ chirping.

To often toss aside needlework for a love of music.
To always strip off hair ornaments to pay for books.
For a humble reputation in the afterlife, the Leopard hides behind fog.
In the undertaking that lies ahead, pests spew poisonous sand.

Socializing in frivolous ways exhausts all my sentiments.
I have long tasted pungent bitterness on the path of life.
Freshly brewed rice wine, living to the fullest, tipsy under blossoms.
The Yellow Court Classic, an idle search for wisdom among tranquility.

When no one else shares my tune, what is the point of sighing?
To meet a soulmate who knows the same songs, I’d willingly die.
Sorrowfully I gaze towards my hometown, across misty waters.
Sandalwood clappers should stop singing ‘Memories of Jiang’nan.’

I like the ‘jade-green’ line. Very evocative of China.

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2023.

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