Tuesday, August 9, 2016

magpie bridge immortals

magpie bridge immortals

for Sheila

as delicate clouds form subtle shapes,
as a shooting star transmits regret,
in secret they cross the remote Heavenly River—

golden wind & jade dew come together
eclipsing this human world’s countless meetings—

their feelings gentle as water,
this auspicious time like a dream; then
they endure the journey back over the magpie bridge—

when two share feeling across long ages
why need they dwell together
every morning & night, every night & morning?

Jack Hayes
© 2016
based on Qin Guan:
què qiáo xiān

Notes: This poem by Song Dynasty poet Qin Guan is based on the mythical story of Zhinü the Weaver Girl (also the star Vega) & Niulang the cowherd (Altair).  Although these lovers are separated on the opposite sides of the heavens, they are able to cross the Celestial River (the Milky Way) once a year on a bridge of magpies. Their yearly reunion is celebrated by the Qixi Festival, also known as the Double Seventh, as it falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month (in 2016, August 9th).

“Golden wind” is traditionally symbolic of a man, while “jade dew” is symbolic of a woman. Both also symbolize autumn. (per Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping)

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
The reunion of the couple of The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd on the bridge of magpies. Artwork in the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Photograph by Wiki user Shizhao 

Public domain.


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