A Snowy Day in Spring 春雪有懷
By Yuan Xi Version A: Translation by Jennifer Zeng | Rendition by Damian Robin
With all the trees in shrouds of falling snow,
We move towards the moment of Time's birth.
My thoughts leap forward with great strength and flow
Within the massive gap of heaven … earth.
Around me, cold East Wind that blows and blows
Much like a song—but who will sing with me?
Dispersing, wafting thoughts are vagrant echoes
Of Zi You* gone, returned, now not with me.
I want to ride a donkey, sail the river
To trace plum blossoms at the edge of mind.
My thoughts reach gently, dancing on forever,
They leave the worried world’s concerns behind.
While in the center of this pure white realm,
I could be in the presence of Ku Yi**.
Contented, all my thoughts flow with no helm.
All I have is all I need to be.
By Yuan Xi | Version B: Translation by Jennifer Zeng | Rendition by Gerard Traub
With every tree covered by falling snow
It feels like returning to the very beginning of time
My thoughts leaping forward with great strength and vigor
Between heaven and earth, so vast and remote.
As the east wind blows
Who can sing a song with me?
My thoughts now indistinct and drifting
With Zi You* nowhere to be found.
I want to ride upon a donkey
Or sail along the river
To search for a trace of plum blossoms
My thoughts dancing gently along
Leaving all worries behind.
Here I am surrounded by a pure white world
I wonder if I have come close to Ku Yi**
My thoughts flow with contentment
And nothing else to pursue.
*Zi You, also known as Wang Huizhi, was the son the Wang Xizhi, a Chinese writer and official who lived during the Jin Dynasty (265–420), best known for his mastery of Chinese calligraphy. His most noted and famous work is "the Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion(Lantingji Xu)". Shen Yun once portrayed this great work in a dance piece called "Poets of the Orchid Pavilion".
Zi You was also very famous for his mastery of Chinese calligraphy. Legend has it that once on a snowy night, he suddenly woke up from a dream. Observing the beautiful scenery, he recited poems and suddenly remembered one of his friends who lived very far away. He immediately jumped upon a boat, traveled for the whole night and reached his friend's home by the morning. However, he didn't enter his friend's home. Instead, he returned immediately. When people asked him why, he replied, "I went to visit him when I was in the mood; and I came back because I was no longer in the mood. Why should I actually see him?"
** Ku Yi can either refer to a Taoist mountain or a divine being who oversees the snow. Zhuangzi, a famous Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BC during the Warring States period, wrote the following in his article "A Happy Excursion":
"On the Miao Ku Yi Mountain there lives a divine one, whose skin is white like ice or snow, whose grace and elegance are like those of a virgin, who eats no grain, but lives on air and dew, and who, riding upon clouds with flying dragons, roams beyond the limits of our mortal world. When his spirit gravitates, he can ward off corruption from all things, and bring good yields to our crops."
-Inspired by the photos below by Benny Zhang Studio taken at Central Park in New York on March 22, 2018. Featured in these photos is Ariel Tian, founder and designer of Yun Boutique. 詩歌靈感來自張炳乾 （Benny Zhang Studio）以下攝影作品，照片中人物爲雲坊設計師田甜(Ariel Tian) 。照片於2018年3月22日攝於紐約中央公園。
飛雪樹頭 太古周遊 我思浩浩 天地悠悠
東風吹徹 孰與唱酬 我思茫茫 不見子猷
尋梅策蹇 寒江泛舟 我思澹澹 聊以忘憂
四望一白 如臨姑射 我思渙渙 夫復何求