To the Tune of Chieh yü hua
Candles flare and melt in the wind
Staining the paper lotus with red dew,
Market lanterns dazzle one another
Moonlight cascades over tiled roofs
Light clouds scatter
The bright moon goddess longs to join
Lovely girls in light dresses
Their waists slender as those of Ch’u.
Flutes and drums clamor for attention –
People’s shadows blend in disarray –
The scent of musk drifts, lingers, everywhere
It brings back nights at the capital, when, curfew waived,
Lights on a thousand gates turned night to day,
Changed streets into a pleasure ground –
The wave of a silk handkerchief from a gilded carriage
And where we met
Horses kicked up dark dust –
This year’s festival is as bright,
Only love has faded.
Time moves on,
Coaches, calash flying, come again,
Let them pass, let the dance end, for me the songs are over
（Julie Landau 译）
Jie Yu Hua
The wind puts out the crimson candles,
Dew moistens the red lotus flowers,
The lantern fair is still ablaze with light.
Moonlight flows over the roof tiles,
As the fluffy clouds disperse,
The moon goddess descends in dismal mood.
Girls glow* pretty, with their slender waists
And attire of quiet and elegant colours.
Flutes and drums sound boisterously amidst
Higgledy-piggledy shadows of human figures,
As faint fragrance wafts along the streets.
It reminds me of the capital’s open nights,
With thousands of households lit up like day,
And people laughing and frolicking everywhere.
In an inlaid carriage, holding a silent kerchief,
When a fair damsel went to her tryst,
A cloud of dim dust rose behind the horses.
The festival falls every year,
But I find my former interest fades away.
Time passes, the night is waning,
I hurry back home in my canopied carriage,
Leaving others to the song and dance of revelry.
The candle flames redden the breeze;
The lotus lanterns seem to freeze.
The sky brightens the fair and the fair the sky.
The titles are steeped in moonlight
When fleecy clouds disperse in flight,
The Moon Goddess would come down from on high.
In elegant dress appear
The southern maidens tender
With waist so slender.
The drums boom far and near,
The crowd’s shadows rise and fall,
Fragrance wafts over all.
I remember the capital’s lantern night:
A thousand doors overwhelmed with light,
People made merry in laughter.
From golden cabs silk handkerchiefs dropped down,
The gallants ran after
The cabs as dim dust raised by steeds in the town.
But years have passed
Now I see only for my part
With an unfeeling heart
How time flies fast.
The cabs will not come back again
And people have sung and danced in vain.
Jie Yu Hua
– Lantern Festival
Red candles flicker in the winds,
Pink lotus blooms bespangled with dewdrops:
The lanterns flood the city with dazzling light.
The moonshine flows glittering down the tiled roofs.
When thin clouds disappear, the goddess
Of the moon, in her shining apparel,
Seems descending upon the earth.
Lo! The maidens are appareled as graceful,
Their slender waists filling but a hand’s hold.
Amid the din of drums and flutes
The merry-makers’ shadows frisk in chaos,
And wild perfume wafts o’er the streets.
Then I recall the night when the imperil city allowed
The night promenade: thousand doors bright as day,
Laughters and wanton mirths filled the air.
In the richly gilded chariot, a maiden
With her silken kerchief beckoned me.
Alas! No sooner our glances met than the arising smoke
Vanished behind the departing wheels.
Now the festive scene remains unchanged,
Yet my youthful passion is waning fast.
When night’s sands are running low,
My canopied chariot home returns,
And the dance and the music also quieten down.