PRELUDE TO THE WATER MELODY
“When will the bright moon appear?”
I am raising a cup of wine and asking the dark blue sky.
I am wondering in the palace of the heaven, this night is
which year as it is in the celestial time?
I wish to soar with the wind and return to (the heaven palace);
yet I am afraid of the jade pagoda and crystalline palace
for the lofty heaven will be too bitterly cold.
Rising to a dance and casting slim shadows,
it doesn’t seem like in the mundane world at all.
The moon is turning its beams toward the red chamber,
descending its light through latticed window,
and shining upon the sleepless.
We should not bear any resentment.
Why at the time of partings, the moon often is so bright and full?
People have their own sorrow, joy, parting, and reunion.
The moon has its dimness, brightness, waning, and waxing.
Since ancient times, life has never been perfect.
May we all be blessed with longevity.
Although a thousand miles apart, we can still share the beautiful moon together.
Translated by Shu
水(shuǐ)调(diào)歌(gē)头(tóu) 明(míng)月(yuè)几(jī)时(shí)有(yǒu)？把(bǎ)酒(jiǔ)问(wèn)青(qīng)天(tiān)。 不(bù)知(zhī)天(tiān)上(shàng)宫(gōng)阙(què)，今夕(jīnxī)是(shì)何(hé)年(nián)。 我(wǒ)欲(yù)乘(chéng)风(fēng)归去(guīqù)，又(yòu)恐(kǒng)琼(qióng)楼(lóu)玉(yù)宇(yǔ)，高(gāo)处(chù)不(bú)胜(shèng)寒(hán), 起(qǐ)舞(wǔ)弄(nòng)清(qīng)影(yǐng)，何(hé)似(sì)在(zài)人(rén)间(jiān)。 转(zhuǎn)朱(zhū)阁(gé)，抵(dǐ)绮(qǐ)户(hù)，照(zhào)无(wú)眠(mián)。 不(bù)应有(yīngyǒu)恨(hèn)，何事(héshì)偏向(piānxiàng)别(bié)时(shí)圆(yuán)。 人(rén)有(yǒu)悲(bēi)欢(huān)离(lí)合(hé)，月(yuè)有(yǒu)阴(yīn)晴(qíng)圆(yuán)缺(quē)，此(cǐ)事(shì)古(gǔ)难(nán)全(quán)。 但(dàn)愿(yuàn)人(rén)长(cháng)久(jiǔ)，千(qiān)里(li)共(gòng)婵(chán)娟(juān)。
The pinyin lyrics come from: http://wenwen.soso.com/z/q61171451.htm
The poet Su Shi lived in the North Song Dynasty, which is about 1000 years ago. This Ci 词 poem of Prelude to the Water was composed in year
1076 on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Su Shi wrote the poem to express how he longed to see his younger brother, Zi You 子由， again and wished that they both and all people will live long and be able to share the bright round moon even if they are far apart. Su missed his brother dearly after not having seen him for seven years. There are a few famous lines in the poem that are often quoted by educated Chinese people. 人有悲欢离合, 月有阴晴圆缺, 此事古难全. 但愿人长久, 千里共婵娟. These sentences express that in our life, we had, have or will have all the good times and bad times — miseries, joys, departing and reunion. All of those, no matter sad or happy, are like the moon has the thin shape or the full size — no one can prevent the moon from getting thinner or getting fuller. The up and down of life is an universal thing; from ancient time to the present, no one can be excluded. So, the poet, Su Shi, kept a positive attitude toward life at the conclusion — as long as we are alive, even we are far apart from each other, we can still connect with the ones that we love by gazing the moon in different spaces and time, and wish for the best to come