Butterflies Love Flowers by Li Qing Zhao (translation)蝶戀花。李清照

Butterflies Love Flowers is a poetic form of 60 characters in two verses, each of five lines that echoes one another.  Each character has a set tone that provides the harmony or counterpoint to the music.  The theme of this form is usually sentimental.

My translation does not conform to the set format of Butterflies Love Flowers.  This one was written by the Song Dynasty female poet, Li Qing Zhao (1084 – 1151), who was living in exile:

Butterflies Love Flowers by Li Qing Zhao

In a long night of listless, joyless sleep

I dream an empty dream of Chang An

Searching familiar ways to the city I know

Because I heard of its beauty this spring

How the flowers shine and reflect the moon


My sketchy meal was hastily prepared but

There is a fine wine of curdled sour plums

A fitting match for my embittered heart

Please flowers don’t laugh at my tipsy array

Have mercy: spring like me will soon decline

(c) Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭 2017






About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Poetry Translation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Butterflies Love Flowers by Li Qing Zhao (translation)蝶戀花。李清照

  1. taphian says:

    I love melancholic poems, dear Mary, they are so deep in their feelings. Thanks for showing me another kind of poems that I didn’t know before. Hope you’re fine, have a nice day, kind regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa has nailed it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. arlingwoman says:

    Oof, that’s a powerful load of sadness. Startling imagery, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Please flowers don’t laugh at my tipsy array” — I think this may be a line I quote at summer parties that linger just long enough…

    Liked by 1 person

Have your say here:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s