…At The Grindstones











{October 1, 2010}   Ten Thousand Peach Blossoms

If Hsi-men Ching had not heard these words nothing might have happened, but having heard them:

The spirits of his Three Corpses became agitated;

The breaths of his Five Viscera ascended to Heaven.

Anger flared in his heart, and

Malice accrued in his gall.

Heading straight for P’an Chin-lien’s quarters;

Without permitting any further explanation,

he sought out the cat and, dangling it by one foot, strode out onto the veranda, took aim at the stone stylobate, swung the cat up into the air, and dashed it against it. All that could be heard was:

A single resounding report,

at which,

The contents of it’s brain burst into

ten thousand peach blossoms,

Its mouthful of teeth were reduced to

scattered fragments of jade.

Truly:

No longer able in the world of light

to capture rats or mice,

It reverts to the abode of the dead

to become a fox-fairy.

When P’an Chin-lien saw that he had taken her cat out and dashed it to death, she sat on her k’ang. Without turning so much as a hair, and waited until he had vacated her quarters, muttering to herself, as she cursed him, saying, “You lousy death-defying ruffian! If you had only dragged me out and killed me, it would have been more heroic of you. Did the cat really get in the way of your shit-eating business so much that you felt compelled to barge in here, like a madman, and dash it to death? When it comes before the authorities in the nether world, it’s likely to demand your life in compensation. What are you so exercised about? You’ll come to a bad end, you lousy fickle ruffian!”

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“Summer is just beginning to recede, as the star Antares

gradually moves toward the west.

The handle of the Dipper is moving toward

the Northern Palace.

A single leaf of the pheonix tree flutters down,

and everywhere a hint of autumn can be detected.

The evening clouds float idly as the stridulation

of the cicadas resounds.

The nighttime breeze is gentle as the coruscating

fireflies begin to fly.

On the Celestial Stairs the coolness of the night

is as clear as water;

Most appropriately, paintings of the Magpie Bridge

are suspended on high.

In Golden basins five sprouts are planted,

In alabaster towers banquets are prepared”

Chin P’ing Mei-  Vol 3 -Chapter 58



{September 14, 2010}   But their Hearts are Dead…

“There are those who are not happy unless they can

accumulate jade and pile up gold,

They remain unaware that wealth and valuables are

merely the roots of catastrophe.

They treasure every single cash as though it were

a part of their flesh and blood;

While those who are chivalrous by nature can only

laugh at them for their insanity.

They  treat each one of their relatives and friends

as if they were total strangers;

The preserve a facade, but their hearts are dead,

which is certainly regrettable.

One can anticipate that one fine day impermanence,

or death, will pay them a visit;

and they will proceed, empty-handed and all alone,

to the abode of the everlasting night.”

-Chin P’ing Mei- Vol.3 -Chapter 56



“For humans residing in this world,

Glory and luxury, wealth and honor

cannot be retained forever. One fine day, when:

Impermanence, or death, visits you,

no matter how much you may have in the way of:

Piled up gold and accumulated jade,

you’ll wind up:

Returning to the shades empty-handed.”

-Chin P’ing Mei- Volume 3- Chapter 56




Last night when the internet died, I sat down and finally read the last of the 3 volumes of Chin P’ing Mei that I’ve been reading .. for.. longer than I should have been. They were rather difficult to lug around but I did, back and forth on the subway and out and about.


I really learned a lot from these, I was thrown into that time really, the sights, sounds scents all described, and a LOT of intense emotion: violence, war, war with nature, corporal punishment, BDSM, polygamy, foods, fruits, festivals, life, death, sex and SO MUCH POETRY and song in every chapter. It was very rich and I’m sure if I read it again in the future when I know more about China I will take more away from it.


Where to start, I really don’t know how to review this. Honestly I know a lot must be lost in translation and lost on me. But some of the poetry and imagery and finery within it was so beautiful and so passionate and overwhelming that I’d nee a break. I am fully aware of the fact that there are technically two more volumes en route or out there somewhere that I haven’t read.


Here are what I was lugging around though:



It’s essentially the tracing of the life of a man, a man who lives his life.. in excess you might say. Something like a rock star now but in that time, an official or governor who was born into some wealth and gained some titles as well. Hsi-men Ch’ing is his name, he inherits a pharmaceutical business actually. He has three principal wives from which the title is taken.. which I guess has a play on the words which is quite sexual.. It also translates as The Plum in the Golden Vase. Here’s the wiki article:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin_Ping_Mei


Which also states that only recently has the book been looked at as literature as opposed to pornography as there are scenes of graphic and BDSM related sex in the books. The book traces the stages of the main characters life and the sections are titled:


The Gathering, The Rivals, The Aphrodisiac (The one’s I read)


.. and all that has been published up to 2006. It’s quite a lot to translate, and I am not sure what the titles of the future 2 volumes will be, but to the point where I am now, Ximen Qing (another way of writing his name) has accumulated his main wives, and a powerful sexual drug which contributes to his downfall. I guess he ends up dying at the age of 33 of sexual excess.


Because of the amount of characters in this it can be quite difficult to follow. In the versions I read the translator uses the word “fuck” quite a bit and I can see that throwing people off as it did me at first.  It works in the scenes where it is present, because so many of the emotions and the drama and the scenery and the language is to the extreme in this. There are so many characters whose lives you follow completely, or who duck in an out, that the author will go out of their way to catch you up on, or describe, and the dialogues are fantastic, the wisdom, the cattiness between wives, the gratefulness, the rage, in looking back on the three volumes now, even though parts were dry, a few parts had me teary eyed, a few parts had me extremely excited and inspired, and there are many funeral scenes which, with Kubler-Ross’ work fresh in mind I could look at from the best perspectives and the most human angles and… well, I could go on.


The problem now is, I have to wait for the next two volumes to really tackle it as a “work”, though I have come a long way through it and as I said before, learned so much in this path of learning and depositing myself into the human mind of ancient China so-to-speak, as I did with the Egyptians, two of the earliest groups to invent writing, documentation and history. I really love these kinds of pieces, which aren’t solely for royalty, because you get so many mind sets, opinions and angles that a decree may not have, plainly stating and yet celebrating the strengths and weaknesses, downfalls and rewards that only we have even if some of it is a little nutty.  I can say that to my knowledge, there is no reality TV that can hold a candle to this work.


I’ll be posting more poetry from these first few volumes throughout the fall, and will soon be discussing some of the funeral scenes and comparing those to some Egyptian scenes as they were of particular interest to me. I wish I could get into more detail right now but if I start I won’t be able to stop and will be unable to break it own into manageable bites. I’m sure some of  you know that I have problems with that sometimes, especially when I get excited…


KQ




{July 21, 2010}   Chinese Review Three


{July 15, 2010}   A Day of Immortality..


“With relaxed temperment and relaxed bosom
let the years go by;
People are dying and people are being born
before your eyes.
Whether it be exhalted or whether it be lowly,
submit to your fate;
Though it be long or short,
do not repine.
Though you possess more or possess nothing,
forgo your sighs;
Whether you be wealthy or whether you be poor
is Heaven’s decree.
Be content to accept your lifetime allotment
of clothing and wages;
Even a single day of undisturbed leisure
is a day of immortality.

-Chin P’ing Mei, China c.1610 BCE, Volume 3 Ch. 49.

More on the Text HERE



{June 25, 2010}   To Escape Us Unappreciated

“Completely inebriated, let us recline amid the fragrant verdure,

Suspending our silver lanterns on high underneath the flowers.

The fullness of youth turns all too easily into age.

Let us not permit the wonders of spring to escape us unappreciated.”


-Chin P’ing Mei, The Plum in the Golden Vase. Coda of a Song in Volume 3,

Chapter 46, First printed c.1610

KQ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin_Ping_Mei



In ChinaTown Montreal

Sculpture In Montreal 🙂

She’s pretty happy for having worms in her ears..

Super steep escalator out of the Subway in Montreal

“Grafitti” in Toronto

Post downtown Toronto

A neat building behind that..

An awesome jacket ..

A neat building I walk by in Montreal fairly often..

Another one…..

A lil Video I took in Grand Parade in Halifax:

Extra info to go with the video:

The church with the face in it, is St. Paul’s Church in Grand Parade, there’s a window on the right side that, I guess a priest flew threw during the explosion in 1906, profile, and since then a profile outline of his face shows up on the window whenever the glass is replaced… so it’s a pretty touristy spot..more at this link

http://www.mysteriesofcanada.com/Nova_Scotia/the%20face.htm

Halifax Town Clock

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Town_Clock

The guy who loved circles was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Edward_Augustus,_Duke_of_Kent_and_Strathearn

This is for you, Eddy:

AWWWWW…

That’s it for today!

KQ



{May 27, 2010}   Frogs and Flowers


I went to the Montreal Botanical Garden’s recently. I LOVE it there, so much. I didn’t have much time but I wanted to show you a bit of my experience there, go go go if you every get the chance, take a day, bring some snacks..

Official Website Here!

I LOVE this flower. I can’t remember the exact variety though…

The approach…


There is so so much to see there. I still haven’t been to the furthest sections of the gardens, I really need a day or two there.. I’m hoping to treat myself to that some time soon actually, as when I was there this time I was recovering from illness and did not have the strength to trek all over the place as usual.

My favorite bits I did see though, the Chinese gardens:

Wiki Guardian Lions– Read more about them HERE!

I’m certainly not showing all of that section of gardens, but it’s a bit of an idea of a place where you can be taken away…. The greenhouses are AMAZING and are also my favorite but I skipped those this time.. to make it to the Alpine Garden, which in it’s rockiness reminds me of lots of places that I visited as a youngin’… though I missed out on the Japanese gardens which are also amazing…

If you have a look at their website you’ll see just how huge it is. The First Nations Garden is also phenomenal and reminds me of home so when I can I absolutely spend some time there and enjoy the scent of the trees.

Just wanted to share a bit of that with you tonight, I was away on somewhat of a vacation, and have so much to share it’s overwhelming!

KQ



et cetera