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Hockney, David - Lady Midnight songs - 3 Autumn

Identifier

014395

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Midnight Songs poetry, also Tzu-yeh Songs, refers both to a genre of poetry as well as to specifically collected poems under the same name, during the fourth century CE.   This is of major significance within the Classical Chinese poetry tradition, finding such practitioners of the genre as Li Bai, as well as importantly influencing world poetry through translations. The Midnight Songs have been much used as inspiration for later poetry.  
Although, traditionally the original set of poems was considered to be composed by a woman ("Lady Midnight") living during the Jin Dynasty, in modern Jiangnan, it is more likely that the Midnight Songs are actually a collection of poems by various poets, and/or from the folk tradition.  The poems are arranged into four sections for the four seasons: spring, summer, winter, and autumn. Thematically, they thus represent four views of the seasons.
According to one count, there are 117 of the poems in the traditional collection.

(SONGS OF FOUR SEASONS)

3 - AUTUMN

I can’t sleep. The night's long and
the bright moon so radiant, radiant.

Thinking I hear his scattered voice,
I call back, answering empty skies.

Autumn’s chill infuses crystalline wind.
A moon drifts heaven’s exquisite depths,

radiant. Lovely women ready Winter robes,
ten thousand sticks beating frozen stone.
 
Crystalline dew freezes jade-pure.
Past midnight, an icy wind rises.

Why go home to bed? All love and
allure, I wander radiant moonlight.

Wild geese set out for their southlands,
and city-bred swallows wing northward.

If you’ve lost your way, my far-off love,
just follow the autumn wind back home.

Beginnings of spring come to mind,
and I realize autumn’s already over.

Chasing after the very heart ofjoy,
I missed the year’s splendor passing.

Autumn’s cold, the window wide open
A tilted moon fills the room with light.

It’s midnight, and nothing need be said
just two smiles behind a gauze curtain.

 

The source of the experience

Hockney, David

Concepts, symbols and science items

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References