I Hear the Cicadas on the Third Night of the Sixth Moon by Bai Ju Yi 六月三日夜聞蟬。白居易 (translation)

In Chinese the word Moon is synonymous with Month.  In fact it is the same character, 月 as the Chinese uses the lunar calendar. When a Tang Dynasty poet mentions the third day of the sixth month, we know that he was referring to summer, when the moon is new, as a full moon always occurs in the middle of the month.

六月三日夜聞蟬。白居易 (772-846)

荷香清露墜,柳動好風生。
微月初三夜,新蟬第一聲。
乍聞愁北客,靜聽憶東京。
我有竹林宅,別來蟬再鳴。
不知池上月,誰撥小船行?

I Hear the Cicadas on the Third Night of the Sixth Moon by Bai Ju Yi (772 – 846)

A clear dew falls on the fragrant lotus

As a good wind moves the willows

On the third night of a slight moon

New cicadas drum their first sound

The sudden sound saddens this northerner

who yearns for Dongjing as he quietly listens

I have a home with a bamboo forrest

Where the cicadas will call though I have gone

I wonder if the moon is hanging over the pond

And who would be moving the little boats along?

(c)Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭2018

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.
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7 Responses to I Hear the Cicadas on the Third Night of the Sixth Moon by Bai Ju Yi 六月三日夜聞蟬。白居易 (translation)

  1. paolsoren says:

    What a beautiful poem.
    Where I live there are no cidadas but if I drive fifteen minutes to the university campus they are everywhere. I don’t know if the students are as impressed as I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just love the image “new cicadas drum their first sound” — somehow I always imagine the insects as ancient, as if they’re born old, but you’ve given them a charming new youth.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the explanation, too, Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  4. zdunno03 says:

    Reblogged this on Leonard Durso and commented:
    another translation from the Chinese by Mary Tang on her blog Life is But This

    Liked by 1 person

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