Fresh Wood (for Luo Xue)
Wen Tianxiang (1236-1283)
A sigh, sigh sound from woods up high to low;
We close the gate and cover up with fur—
Spring feelings flow along the mountain gorge;
At dawn I rise to touch and look at her.
Zèng Luó Xuě Yá Qiáo Qīng
Xiāo xiāo shān xià rén
Bì mén yì qiú dān
Chūn xīn dòng xī gǔ
Xiǎo qǐ mén sōng kàn
Transliteration and Notes
For Luo Xue Cliff Firewood Fresh
Xiao xiao mountain below person
Shut gate put-on fur-garments one
Spring heart moves creek valley
Dawn rise grasp pine look
“Fresh” can also mean “young.” “Xiao xiao” imitates the sound of sighing of the wind, with a mournful, dejected feeling. “Shut gate” means “close the door. “Spring heart” means “amorous feelings” or the stirrings of love. “Creek valley” is a valley or gorge. “Dawn” can mean to make explicit. “Grasp” can also mean stroke or grope. “Pine,” as in “pine tree,” can also mean loosen or relax; if it literally means “pine tree,” it symbolizes longevity, virtue, and solitude.
Wen Tianxiang, also known as the Duke of Xinguo, was a scholar- general at the end of the Song Dynasty. He is still famous in China for refusing to yield to the Mongolians under Kublai Khan after his capture and support their efforts against remaining Song forces. As a punishment, they tortured him for four years and then executed him.