Google+ Consumer Psyche: 柳

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

動春何限葉,
撼曉幾多枝?
解有相思否?
應無不舞時。
絮飛藏皓蝶,
帶弱露黃鸝。
傾國宜通體,
誰來獨賞眉?

Li Shangyin's poem 'Willow' is the source of the line 'Counting the leaves which tremble at dawn' in 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun'. Like Waters' other lines about 'swallows resting' and 'lotuses yearning', this line points to a deep agitation which belies the stillness of the time just before sunrise.

However, the original poem is far from disturbing. In fact, it has an element of sensuality and playfulness that come through rather vividly in translation. The poet is praising in a subtle but quite unmistakeable way the physical charms of the woman who is the subject of the poem. (The tone suggests a poem of a public nature.)

Check the comments for the English translation.
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