Liangzhou Blues #1

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No 春風 Spring breeze here!

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Liangzhou Blues #1
*****Wang Zhihuan 688-742

To the East;
    White clouds cluster above Yellow River,
    Lone garrison town cowers under towering peaks.
    Vexing Tartar pipe plays parting tune.
To the West;
    No spring breeze penetrates Jade-Gate Pass.
Huánghé yuǎn shāng báiyún jiān,
Yī piàn gūchéng wàn rèn shān.
Qiāng dí héxū yuàn yángliǔ,
Chūnfēng bù dù Yùménguàn.
Translator: Dongbo 東波

Presumably this poem was written in Liangzhou 涼州,
present day 武威 Wuwei, in the middle of Gansu, a
way from Yumenguan 玉門關, but still farther from
the center of China.

It is said that one day, when Wang was drinking
with his friends Wang Zhanglin and Gaoshi, that
singing girls sang the verses of these two but not
of Wang Zhihuan. They chided him his lack of
popularity. Wang countered by saying they must wait
until the lovely last girl sang. To their chagrin she
sang his verse and we like to think it was the
Liangzhou Blues 涼州詞!

Audio is Dwight Yoakum singing Rocky Road Blues.

Related Items:
Gānsù 甘肅
Yùménguān, Jade Gate Barrier 玉門關