Wednesday, August 30

Echoes of Jarrell I Think

I came across this interesting passage in Shitaya sôwa:
This winter Yokoyama Kozan published Selections from the Zhapu Collection. The original Zhapu Collection was edited by a man named Shen Yue [apparently an error for Shen Yun], who collected works by poets affected by the war after the English attacked the southern areas of Qing and forced the secession of Hong Kong in 1842 (that is, Tenpō 13). Obviously Kozan published this work to make a literary appeal for the importance of strengthening Japan’s naval defenses... Luckily this work did not meet with the bakufu’s displeasure.
Zhapu was one of the coastal towns raided by Britain during the first Opium War. This collection sounded interesting, but unfortunately I haven’t managed to get my hands on a copy of it, which as far as I know hasn’t been republished. I did, however, find a couple poems excerpted from it on this fairly dubious bulletin board, so enjoy:
山下鬼 清•黃金台

Ghosts at the Mountain’s Base, by Huang Jintai

The Nine Peaks shine with flying phosphoric light
And battle seems to make the flowers stink of blood.
This night the raging tides surge against the lonely hill,
And passing travelers startle at the eerie wail.
Generals Wei and Han have died for their commission,
The heroes begrudged not their lives to repay their country.
Wolves tear up the bones,
Hawks snatch at the flesh,
And the new ghosts weep together in their rage.
The wind whistles through pines and oaks ten feet around,
While owls fly now even in the midday sun.
Chang’an from here’s ten thousand li away,
To where shall their kin then call home their dead?
It kind of reminds me of the "The Star-Spangled Banner."


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