Sōng Fēng Gé Shī (Poem on the Hall of Pines and Wind) (松風閣詩) was written by Huang Tingjian (黃庭堅) in 1102 CE. It presents a sense of melancholy within a mood of delight. Huang first described the scenery surrounding the Hall of Pines and Wind and his enjoyment with friends. Then he expressed a strong regret that Su Shi, his great friend and mentor could not share the delightful time with him as Su passed away in the year before. Finally, Huang hoped to be able to free himself from the entanglement of his current situation and go with friends together on a boating trip. This masterpiece is kept in National Palace Museum, Taipei (台北故宮博物院).
Yī shān zhú gé jiàn píng chuān.
這座依著 (樊山Fán shān, 湖北鄂州Hú Běi E Zhōu之西）山形而建築的閣樓，遠眺可望見平緩的河川。
On the slope of the mountain was raised a hall (or pavilion) that overlooks a level stream.
Yè lán jī dǒu chā wū chuán.
Late at night stars of Sagittarius, Hercules and Serpens stick between the rafters.
Wǒ lái míng zhī yì shì rán.
I came and named the Hall (Hall of the Pines and wind), and I am quite happy with the name I’ve chosen.
Lǎo sōng kuí wú shù bǎi nián.
Ancient pine trees of gigantic statue, hundreds of years old
Fǔ jīn suǒ shè lìng cān tiān.
Those spared the woodcutter’s axe reach to the sky today.
Fēng míng wā huáng wǔ shí xián.
The wind sounds like Queen Wa’s fifty strings harp.
Xǐ ěr bù xū pú sà quán.
To’ wash’ ears you do not need the water of Bodhisattva Spring. (The sounds at the Hall are already worthy of listening and you don’t need to go to Spring.)
Jiā èr sān zi shén hǎo xián.
Accompanying me are two or three admirable friends.
Lì pín mǎi jiǔ zuì cǐ yán.
Despite hardship, they still buy wine (to entertain friends) and get drunk.
Yè yǔ míng láng dào xiǎo xuán.
Night rain sounds along the walkways, hanging until dawn.
Xiāng kàn bù guī wò sēng zhān.
Looking at one another, we decided not to return home, reclining on a monk’s felt blanket (ie staying overnight in the temple).
Quán kū shí zào fù chán yuán.
A dry spring with parched rocks has water flowing again.
Shān chuān guāng huī wèi wǒ yán.
The luminosity of the mountains and rivers are for us to admire.
Yě sēng hàn jī bù néng zhān.
Amid drought and famine, monks in the wilderness have nothing to eat not even morning congee.
Xiǎo jiàn hán xī yǒu chuī yān.
At dawn near the cold stream rises the smoke from kitchen chimneys (some people are cooking).
Dōng pō dào ren yǐ chén quán.
蘇東坡道人已在九泉之下 (他已經過世了) 。
Dongpo, a man of Dao, has already sunk to the springs (ie has passed away).
Zhāng hóu hé shí dào yǎn qián.
When will Mr Zhang (Zhāng lěi 張耒) arrive before my eyes ?
Diào tái jīng tāo kě zhòu mián.
Listening to the sounds of the waves washing onto ‘Fishing Platform’, we want to sleep through the day.
Yí tíng kàn zhuàn jiāo lóng chán.
到「怡亭」，看 (李陽冰的) 篆書，(那勁健有力的書法，真有如) 蛟龍翻騰纏繞。
At ‘Leisure Pavilion’ looking at seal scripts that look like tangling dragons.
Ān dé cǐ shēn tuō jū luán.
How can this life avoid being seized and bound ?
Zhōu zài zhū yǒu zhǎng zhōu xuán.
Boats carry my friends on long, revolving journey.
Modern Chinese translation was adapted and modified from Qiū Xīnxián 邱馨賢老師. English translation was adapted and modified from Dr Alfreda Murck’s work.
Huang Tingjian (黃庭堅) (1045–1105), also known as Lǔ Zhí (魯直), Shān Gǔ (山谷), Fú Wēng (涪翁). He was a native of Hóng Zhōu Fēn Níng (洪州分寧) (now Jiangxi Xiushui County 江西修水縣). Huang was a Chinese calligrapher, poet, scholar and government official of the Song Dynasty. He was one of the Four Calligrapher Masters of the Song Dynasty (宋四大家).
Huang Tingjian passed his imperial Chin-shih examination (登進士第) in 1067 and was granted some posts in the government. At the time, there were two major parties, a “reform” party lead by Wang Anshi (王安石) and a “conservative” party, which included prominent officials such as Sima Guang (司馬光), Ouyang Xiu (歐陽修) and Su Shi (蘇軾). As Emperor Shenzong (神宗) increasingly favoured Wang Anshi’s New Policies, as they were known, their opponents suffered politically. This included exile for Su Shi, beginning in 1080 to Hangzhou. Huang Tingjian was falsely accused of conspiracy. After 1086, Wang Anshi’s party was out of favour, and Wang Anshi himself was forced into retirement. Huang and other exiles were recalled from their places of banishment.
However, Su Shi and Huang Tingjian were repeatedly caught up in the political in-fighting in the Imperial Court and had to endure several cycles of exile and pardon.
Su died in 1101 and Huang died in 1105 in Yí zhōu (宜州)(now Guǎngxī Province廣西).
Special features of Huang’s calligraphy
Huang’s calligraphy is bold, magnificent and graceful in style. He formed his own distinctive methods for structuring characters which include concentrating strokes within the centre of the character and creating outstretched strokes radiating toward the four corners. He also had the habit of making wavering or overstretched strokes (一波三折).
Huang emphasized the importance of yun (韵) (grace or good taste).
During his exile, Huang was inspired by people rowing a boat forcefully against water current. This helped him to wield his brush better and express himself much more effectively.
Huang’s calligraphy is always fresh and innovative. Each and every stroke of his writing has its own form and postures. Some words appear 2 or 3 of times in Sōng Fēng Gé Shī. The following shows that each word is written differently.
Sōng Fēng Gé Shī has been studied by numerous scholars and calligraphers for the last 913 years. Professor WONG Wai Cheong (黃維琩教授), my teacher, devoted a huge amount of effort studying the calligraphy of Huang. Below is a good example of his work which shows yun gracefully.
Zhi Shan Garden (至善園) at the National Palace Museum in Taipei is a recreation of traditional Chinese landscaping, bringing back the scenery that has inspired many of the ancient Chinese poets and scholars. Inside there is a pavilion designed to represent Sōng Fēng Gé (松風閣).
Further readings :
http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzAxODEzNjg2NQ==&mid=411129543&idx=4&sn=ff0068ab82e58fd5a631313042024ff9&scene=5&srcid=12156dBBhrgE6hthkPMS7WNj#rd 蒋勋解读《松风阁诗》上,下. 松风阁诗》全卷(台北故宫藏) (highly recommended)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNq7iMcYoIU 20130813《殷瑗小聚》北宋大觀特展–黃庭堅: 松風閣 上 (蔣勳) 18.19 minutes (highly recommended)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLO3yf4Jx8 20130814《殷瑗小聚》北宋大觀特展～黃庭堅: 松風閣 下 (蔣勳) (highly recommended)
http://tech2.npm.gov.tw/sung/html/graphic/c_t2_1_a14.htm (great explanation of the scroll)
http://www.weide.org.tw/magtxt3/50-mag-008/201-2010-12-15-06-36-54.html (Excellent Chinese translation by 邱馨賢)
Alfreda Murck (2000) Poetry and Painting in Song China – The Subtle Art of Dissent, Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 50, ISBN 978-0-674-00782-6 (Excellent English translation)
Wang Xinyu (2012) Classics Appreciation of Chinese Visual Arts – Calligraphy,The Yellow River Publishing & Media Group Co. Ltd. ISBN 978-7-227-05114-5/J.348
Ouyang Z and Wen C.F. (2008) Chinese Calligraphy, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-12107-0