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To the Tune of "Panning for Gold in Choppy Water" 1

Li, Yu (937-978 CE)


The past only saddens me.
As I confront the current situation,
It is difficult to dispel my sorrow.
The moss grows in the autumn wind
And encroaches upon the stairs leading to the yard.
The beaded curtain in the doorway has never been lifted.
Each day not even a single visitor dares come to see me.

The gold sword has been buried.
As though in the wilderness,
I have a lofty aspiration in vain.
In the cool evening and quiet sky the moon emerges.
It must shine on the Qin-huai River in vain 2
As I recall the vivid images of the jade towers and marble pavilions.


The rain is drearily murmuring outside the bamboo blinds.
Spring's spirit is on the wane.
The silk quilt is inadequate against the pre-dawn chill.
In my dream, I was unaware that I was a guest 3.
I would love to cherish my sweet memory even just for a short while.

When one is alone,
One should not lean against the banister 4.
It was easy to say farewell to the endless mountains and rivers 5,
But it would be difficult to see them again.
The fallen blossoms carried by the flowing water have gone with Spring.
Only in heaven may I realize my old dreams 6.


1 The melody title originated from the poem "Panning for Gold in Choppy Water" written by Yu-xi Liu. The theme of Liu's poem is that the life of those who panned for gold in the Yellow River is not as happy and peaceful as the life of an affectionate couple. The title of the following video is "Panning for Gold in Choppy Water":

2 The Qin-huai River was located in Jin-ling City, the capital of the Kingdom of Southern Tang. When Li wrote this poem, the singing and dancing that had taken place in the palace during his reign no longer occurred.

3 In his dream, he was still a king rather than a captive.

4 Otherwise, one will look for one's home country and become depressed.

5 "The endless mountains and rivers" refers to Li's lost kingdom.

6 In reality, Yu Li could not restore his kingdom.