Citation of Rivers and Plum Blossoms, The World of the Living (江梅引·人间离别易多时) by Jiang Kui (姜夔), in English

In winter, the Dragon of Fire’s year, I stay ‘pon Liang’s hill.
I wish to go to Huainan, and cannot; my dream thoughts sourcing, I shall write my whims.

A departure from the world of the living easens many instances.
View plum branches, do no yearning.
Many times, within small glimpses of faraway dreams, hands are in hands.
This night, there is no fruitful dreamtime search.
Free to dither about, cold invades my blanket, yet undetected.

Dampened red and embittered ink lightly seal my letter.
A precious guzheng vacant, its avian bridges flightless.
A beautiful tour through the streets, all empty of memories, as ancient trees stretch for the sunshine.
A former concord on a small skiff; heartfelt hopes have already gone awry.
The song stops for Huainan’s poem of spring greens, still lush.
Adrift, a poor wanderer wears clothes soaked with tears.

Original Text

Plain English (directly translated from Baidu’s Plain Mandarin version)
In the winter of Qingyuan’s second year, I remain in Wuxi.
Going to Hefei is something I cannot achieve; I write my emotions down in accordance to what I’ve viewed in my dreams.
Departing from the conventional world makes it easy to value the seasons.
Upon viewing plum branches, a yearning feeling suddenly surges into my heart.
A few times, inside distant dreams in tiny windows, I stroll amongst flowers, hand in hand.
Tonight, I cannot find you in my dreams, so I wander all alone. In dreamland, I haven’t felt it yet, but cold has already permeated my blanket.
Tears dampen red paper, its ink imbued with resentment. A lightly-sealed letter, inscribed with a letterhead.
A precious guzheng goes unplucked for long, no flying geese to bring the letter.
When I tour the streets unrestrained, I think of how only ancient trees slant towards the sun, freely self-preserving.
An oath jointly recorded in olden times upon a skiff; beautiful wishes have since fallen into the river and gone.
After reciting the verse in Hill of Huainan, ‘Wangsun does not return,’ the time where spring plants bloom happens to come.
A wanderer, adrift in all directions, reminisces on the past, sleeves damp with wiped tears.

2 thoughts on “Citation of Rivers and Plum Blossoms, The World of the Living (江梅引·人间离别易多时) by Jiang Kui (姜夔), in English

  1. Beautiful, thank you! I’m glad for the plain English version, it makes the imagery of the original version clearer 😊


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