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Forum LockedI Hate Poetry, and You!

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    Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 03:37

Hey guys, I'm dedicating this thread to anyone who wishes to post anything about poetry from the time period of antiquity and the middle ages, from any civilization, from any poet, yada yada. Since you all know I'm a China-history-freak, I think I'll start this off with some old Chinese poetry. I've posted this thread already in simaqian, and I hope it gets good results! I find a lot of Chinese poetry to be exceptionally descriptive and well-written, filled with deep and vivid imagery, tied with hints and symbolism expressing a catharsis of powerful emotions and deep breadth of human wonder. In other words, stupid gay people like it.

Lol. Tongue

 
First up, here's a much older poem by Cao Zhi (lived from 192 - 232 AD), entitled, The Passage of Sighs. Cao Zhi was the son of Cao Cao, the powerful Prime Minister and warlord who initiated the powerful Wei Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period of China.
 
IPB Image
Alas! This rolling tumbleweed
Living alone in this world Oh why? Oh why?
Long have I left my roots and gone
Resting never, day nor night
From east to west, from south to north.
A whirlwind rises, blowing me
into the clouds, where I thought
was the ends of Heaven
But all of a sudden
I fall
deep into an abyss.
I am carried out by a rapid gust.
If only it were to take me back to the fields!
Southwards I am bound, but it takes me north;
Supposing it blows to the east, it turns to the west.
Straying, drifting, with nothing to rely on
Surely I expire, I say, but my life goes on
To wander through the hills and plains
Turning, tumbling, with no place to stay
Who would understand my agony, I pray?
May I be grass growing in a forest
To burn when autumn flames rage fiercest!
Destroyed by fire know I naught of the pain?
Id rather that, but with my roots remain.


Here's another poem by Cao Zhi, entitled The Fair Maiden, take a look...

IPB Image


Alluring and shy stands a fair maiden,
Gathering mulberry leaves at the crossroads.
The tender twigs rustle;
The leaves fall one by one.
How white her hands as she bares her arms,
A gold bracelet round her wrist!
On her head a golden sparrow hairpin;
At her waist a green jade pendant,
While encompassing her lovely form,
Pearls, coral and blue glass beads.
In the breeze, her silk blouse flutters
And her light skirt flows.
Glances reveal her shining eyes;
Sighs her breath, orchid sweet.
Travellers en route halt their carriages;
Those resting forget their refreshment.


This next poem is by Tao Yuanming (lived 365 - 427 AD), who lived during the late Jin period. The poem is entitled Begging For Food.

IPB Image
 
The pangs of hunger drove me from my home;
with no idea of where to go
I travelled on for miles
until I reached a village,
knocked on the nearest door,
blurted out some clumsy words.

The owner understood my need
his warmth dispelled my shame
that I'd come empty-handed.

We played and sang till sunset,
the wine-cups often tilted,
with the pleasure of new-found friends
we chanted and composed verses.

I remember the story of the washerwoman.
Ashamed that I lack the skills of general Chinese,
how can I show my gratitude?
I can only repay him in the world to come.


This next one is called Returning to Live in the Country, another one by Tao Yuanming:
IPB Image
 
Young, I was always free of common feeling.
It was in my nature to love the hills and mountains.
Mindlessly I was caught in the dust-filled trap.
Waking up, thirty years had gone.
The caged bird wants the old trees and air.
Fish in their pool miss the ancient stream.
I plough the earth at the edge of South Moor.
Keeping life simple, return to my plot and garden.
My place is hardly more than a few fields.
My house has eight or nine small rooms.
Elm-trees and Willows shade the back.
Plum-trees and Peach-trees reach the door.
Misted, misted the distant village.
Drifting, the soft swirls of smoke.
Somewhere a dog barks deep in the winding lanes.
A cockerel crows from the top of the mulberry tree.
No heat and dust behind my closed doors.
My bare rooms are filled with space and silence.
Too long a prisoner, captive in a cage,
Now I can get back again to Nature.
 
Bai Juyi (lived 722 - 846 AD) was a poet under the ruling Tang Dynasty of China. Here's a peom of his entitled Passing Tien-men Street of Chang'an and Seeing a Distant View of Chung-nan Mountain.
IPB Image

The snow has gone from Chung-nan; spring is almost come.
Lovely in the distance its blue colors, against the brown of the streets.
A thousand coaches, ten thousand horsemen pass down the Nine Roads;
Turns his head and looks at the mountains,--not one man!


Here's another one by Bai Juyi, entitled The Charcoal Seller.

An old charcoal seller cutting wood and burning charcoal in the forest of the Southern Mountain;
His face, stained with dust and ashes, has turned to the color of smoke.
The hair on his temples is streaked with gray: his ten fingers are black.
The money he gets by selling charcoal, how far does it go?
It is just enough to clothe his limbs and put food in his mouth.
Although, alas, the coat on his back is a coat without lining,
He hopes for the coming of cold weather, to send up the price of coal!
Last night, outside the city,--a whole foot of snow;
At dawn he drives the charcoal wagon along the frozen ruts.
Oxen,--weary; man,--hungry: the sun, already high;
Outside the Gate, to the south of the Market, at last they stop in the mud.
Suddenly, a pair of prancing horsemen. Who can it be coming?
A public official in a yellow coat and a boy in a white shirt.
In their hands they hold a written warrant: on their tongues--the words of an order;
They turn back the wagon and curse the oxen, leading them off to the north.
A whole wagon of charcoal,
More than a thousand pieces!
If officials choose to take it away, the woodman may not complain.
Half a piece of red silk and a single yard of damask,
The Courtiers have tied to the oxen's collar, as the price of a wagon of coal!
 
Very sad indeed! Cry On a much lighter note, here's a poem by Li Bai (701 - 762 AD) entitled Down Zhongnan Mountain to the Kind Pillow and Bowl of Husi.

IPB Image

 
Down the blue mountain in the evening,
Moonlight was my homeward escort.
Looking back, I saw my path
Lie in levels of deep shadow....
I was passing the farm-house of a friend,
When his children called from a gate of thorn
And led me twining through jade bamboos
Where green vines caught and held my clothes.
And I was glad of a chance to rest
And glad of a chance to drink with my friend....
We sang to the tune of the wind in the pines;
And we finished our songs as the stars went down,
When, I being drunk and my friend more than happy,
Between us we forgot the world.


And another poem of his entitled Drinking Alone With the Moon.

From a pot of wine amongst the flowers
I drank alone. There was no one with me
Till raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three
Alas, the moon was unable to drink
And my shadow tagged me vacantly
But still for a while I had these friends
To cheer me through the end of spring
I sang, the moon encouraged me
I danced. My shadow tumbled after
As long as I knew, we were boon companions
And then I was drunk, and we lost one another
Shall goodwill ever be secure?
I watch the long road of the River of Stars


And another of his called In Spring.

Your grasses up north are as blue as jade
Our mulberries here curve green-threaded branches
And at last you think of returning home
Now when my heart is almost broken
Oh breeze of the spring, since I dare not know you
Why part the silk curtains by my bed?


The Tang Dynasty master of poetry, Du Fu (712 - 770 AD) wrote many great poems in his lifetime. Here's one entitled To My Retired Friend Wei.
 
IPB Image
It is almost as hard for friends to meet
As for the morning and evening stars.
Tonight then is a rare event,
Joining, in the candlelight,
Two men who were young not long ago
But now are turning grey at the temples.
...To find that half our friends are dead
Shocks us, burns our hearts with grief.
We little guessed it would be twenty years
Before I could visit you again.
When I went away, you were still unmarried;
But now these boys and girls in a row
Are very kind to their father's old friend.
They ask me where I have been on my journey;
And then, when we have talked awhile,
They bring and show me wines and dishes,
Spring chives cut in the night-rain
And brown rice cooked freshly a special way.
...My host proclaims it a festival,
He urges me to drink ten cups --
But what ten cups could make me as drunk
As I always am with your love in my heart?
...Tomorrow the mountains will separate us;
After tomorrow - who can say?


This next poem is one written by Su Tung-po (1036 - 1101 AD) of the Song Dynasty. In this poem he is criticizing the Imperial Exams and how they favor rich kids who are able to pass them because they've been tutored their whole life and how corruption gets in the way of governance. He was shunned in his own time by the elite aristocrats he made fun of, but Chinese people in succeeding generations connected with him and found him funny. It is entitled On the Birth of My Son.

Families, when a child is born
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister
 
LOL Lol. Funny guy, that Su Tung-po. Anyways, this next poem is written by Mei Yao Chen (1002 - 1060 AD), and is entitled A Poem to My Late Wife.
In broad daylight I dream I
Am with her. At night I dream
She is still at my side. She
Carries her kit of colored
Threads. I see her image bent
Over her bag of silks. She
Mends and alters my clothes and
Worries for fear I might look
Worn and ragged. Dead, she watches
Over my life. Her constant
Memory draws me towards death.


That's depressing. Well, that's it for now kids. Join me next week when I post more poems like these. Good night, and go to hell. Lol.

Late!
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 27-Oct-2006 at 02:13
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That doesnt ryhme at all!
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Quote That doesn't ryhme at all!

 

Dude, that's cuz it's translated into English from Chinese, another language! Lol. I'm sure it sounds much better in theirs. What's more important is what they're actually saying, LeSota, the deeper meaning, if you caught that at all.

 

Eric



Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 11-Oct-2006 at 04:25
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Shouldn't this be in the Historical Arts and Literature sub-forum?
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Quote Dude, that's cuz it's translated into English from Chinese, another language! Lol. I'm sure it sounds much better in theirs.
Then it's the fault of the translators. The literature doesn't need to be translated ad litteram, especially poetry. Even me, an amateur, could properly translate poems from my language (Romanian) to English preserving the rhyme and the metric. That's most important in poetry, otherwise it would be prose
LOL
 
Perhaps sometimes it's not possible to fit anything in the original form so it could keep a similar semantic, a similar emotion, but these should be seen as exceptions, not as general rule. Again it may be that Far East literary expression to be virtually untraslateable in English, but I'd like to see some serious argumentation on that, meanwhile for me is just the inability of translators Wink
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 06:09
Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

Again it may be that Far East literary expression to be virtually untraslateable in English, but I'd like to see some serious argumentation on that, meanwhile for me is just the inability of translators Wink
 
You're from Romania? Which part? When I visited there (and Germany the next week), Brasov was the place I spent the most time at, great town, especially if you're a history nut like me who likes Roman and Medieval history, which Brasov has a lot of.
 
Anyways, translating fluidly and with similar words to rhyme with others I think shouldn't be especially hard when converting Romanian into English. After all, Romanian is a Romance Language, and English, although half Germanic Anglo-Saxon, is still half Norman-French at its base, which in turn evolved from Vulgar Latin. The Han Chinese language, on the other hand, has no similarity to English, and their writing system involving thousands of characters as opposed to the simplistic and efficient Latin Alphabet are other things to consider. That and picking certain English words (with many variations) to match the correct definitions of certain Chinese words, and a lack of similar words in Chinese and English taht would contrast with English and Chinese thesaurus.
 
Anyways, I'm giving this way too much analysis, when we should be talking about the poems above and poetry in general! I especially like the poem by Du Fu talking about visiting his old friend, drinking wine and having a good time, with some great lines and a hint of great longing and the emotions that unravel as a mature friendship reaches old age, and one knows that parting with a good friend might be their last if chance doesn't permit them to in the future.
 
Your thoughts? 
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 11-Oct-2006 at 06:11
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Quote
Anyways, translating fluidly and with similar words to rhyme with others I think shouldn't be especially hard when converting Romanian into English. After all, Romanian is a Romance Language, and English, although half Germanic Anglo-Saxon, is still half Norman-French at its base, which in turn evolved from Vulgar Latin. The Han Chinese language, on the other hand, has no similarity to English, and their writing system involving thousands of characters as opposed to the simplistic and efficient Latin Alphabet are other things to consider. That and picking certain English words (with many variations) to match the correct definitions of certain Chinese words, and a lack of similar words in Chinese and English taht would contrast with English and Chinese thesaurus.
Let me fetch you a trivial example.
For instance an online version (have no idea who's the author) of Mihai Eminescu's Luceafarul (a famous Romanian poetry written in 19th century) in English gives the following second quartet:
 
She was her parents' only child,
Bright like the sun at noon,
Like the Virgin midst the saints
And among stars the moon.
 
But you see, in original the second verse in Romanian is "Si mandra-n toate cele" which is literally "And proud about everything". However the translator sacrificed the literal translation offering a metaphor of (arguably) similar weight, which can be fetched in the series of metaphors shaping the royal maid and in exchange saving the poetry's form. I'm not saying is the best translation, I'm just point out how a literary translation should work.
Moreover, I encountered translations where the corresponding words were not occuring in the same verse because of semantics and the solutions found by translators. 
Words and even expressions can be longer or simply sounding differently (type of consonants, diphtongs, hiatuses, etc.) in one language or another, even if we speak of IE languages, even words which have the same common root. For length and syllabes (the word is French, have no idea which is the right English term): Latin tem-pus vs Romanian timp or English king vs German koe-nig or Romanian Ro-xa-na vs English-French Ro-xanne etc..
Though the alphabet is the same, the prounciation is the one which gives  the shape of the poetry. That's why, coming at Chinese poetry, I don't think the writing system should influence the translation but the pronounciation - only in pronounciation things like rhyme (whore and door do rhyme though the last letter is not the same!) or metric (neighbourhood and enemy have both 3 syllabes!, tho' metric is a bit more complex than that).
I agree there could be different "poetic sensitivities" e.g. Latin metric is based on the length of the vowels while our modern poetry is based on stress, much Latin poetry has less emphasis on rhymes (I don't know how Chinese metric is defined, nor rhyme), but AFAIK bridges are possible.
 
I apologize for wrong breaking in syllabes (if any) - I assume full responsability only for Romanian words Tongue
 
To conclude - translating the words is just not enough in poetry, even in Germanic vs Romance (and viceversa) translations. That's why most of the succesful translations belong to the poets themselves.
 
Quote
Anyways, I'm giving this way too much analysis, when we should be talking about the poems above and poetry in general! I especially like the poem by Du Fu talking about visiting his old friend, drinking wine and having a good time, with some great lines and a hint of great longing and the emotions that unravel as a mature friendship reaches old age, and one knows that parting with a good friend might be their last if chance doesn't permit them to in the future.
My tastes are a bit too European Big smile :
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
che la diritta via era smarrita.
 
Quote You're from Romania? Which part? 
I am born in Bucharest, though much of my relatives (and my parents) come from various other regions (Transylvania and Moldavia mostly).


Edited by Chilbudios - 11-Oct-2006 at 07:23
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I preffer poetry in Native languages of the Americas.
This is one of Chilean mapuche poet Elicura Chihuailaf, singing about the freedom of their people.

Elel mu kechi malall, kalli amulepe i ko.
Elel mu kechi malall, wio petu kuyfimogen,
Feypi Willi krf i vl, mogenley ta ti
Inchi i kom pu che, i pu weny, mlfen i mogen.
 
 
I dont want walls!!! Let my rivers run in freedom....
I dont want walls!!! Let the freedom come back, covered by flowers...
So speaks the spirit of the southern wind, who never dies
because it is my people, my friends, the dew of life...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 13:08
Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

For instance an online version (have no idea who's the author) of Mihai Eminescu's Luceafarul (a famous Romanian poetry written in 19th century) in English gives the following second quartet:
 
She was her parents' only child,
Bright like the sun at noon,
Like the Virgin midst the saints
And among stars the moon.
 
But you see, in original the second verse in Romanian is "Si mandra-n toate cele" which is literally "And proud about everything". However the translator sacrificed the literal translation offering a metaphor of (arguably) similar weight, which can be fetched in the series of metaphors shaping the royal maid and in exchange saving the poetry's form. I'm not saying is the best translation, I'm just point out how a literary translation should work.
 
Just a tiny little comment, Chilbudios: I think that Eminescu's "mandra-n toate cele", used mandra not in the sense of proud, but rather in the sense of beautiful, fair, or maidenly. Note the occasional use of the noun mandra in Romanian folk tales as someone's beautiful bride, betrothed or lover. This would also make the English translation better in my opinion.
 
Anyway, I generally agree with your general statement about translation of poetry.
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My favorite line of poetry:
 
Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda thu wat unbidan we nu
 
It is the oldest written Dutch ever found, it was scribbled on a strip of parchment, probably to test a newly cut quill. The strip was later used as reinforcement in the spine of a book and so preserved. It reads:
 
All birds have started nests exept me and you, what are we waiting for.
 
So the oldest Dutch text is a love poem. Interesting if you figure that it was very likely written by a monk...

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Thanks Aelfgifu and pinguin! Great contributions to the thread.

 
Eric
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Quote Just a tiny little comment, Chilbudios: I think that Eminescu's "mandra-n toate cele", used mandra not in the sense of proud, but rather in the sense of beautiful, fair, or maidenly. Note the occasional use of the noun mandra in Romanian folk tales as someone's beautiful bride, betrothed or lover. This would also make the English translation better in my opinion.
You're perfectly right. "Fair" is so much more adequate term than "proud". My bad, I got carried away by the modern meaning of it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2006 at 00:18

More poetry from my man, Du Fu (lived 712-770 AD). He be my runnin dog, and if you mess with him, Snoop Doggy Dogg, or death-rizzow, then you best check yourself 'fore you wreck yo'self, punk. Lol. Tongue

This next poem is written during a time of great and sudden turmoil in China, during the An Lushan Rebellion, and where he was forced to move his family due to the disorder caused by the war. This poem was inspired by the death of his youngest child, where he chose not to focus on himself, but upon the pain of others around him whom he deemed even less fortunate.

All my life I've been exempt from taxes,
And my name is not registered for conscription.
Brooding on what I have lived through,
If even I know such suffering,
The common man must surely be rattled by the winds;
Then thoughts silently turn to those who have lost all livelihood
And to the troops in far garrisons.
Sorrow's source is as huge as the South Mountain,
A formless, whirling chaos that the hand cannot grasp.

Here's another poem written by Du Fu as he lived in Chengdu during his final years.

IPB Image
 
I have been told that Chang'an (City) looks like a chessboard.
A hundred years back, a lifetime's troubles, grief beyond enduring.
Mansions of counts and princes all have new masters,
The civil and army uniforms differ from olden times.
Straight north past the fortified mountains kettledrums are thundering.
From wagon and horse on the western campaign winged dispatches rush.
Fish and dragons grow silent now, autumn rivers grow cold.
The life I used to have at home is the longing in my heart.

Good poetry for 8th century China,
Eric



Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 27-Oct-2006 at 02:14
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Lasciare ogni speranza, voi 'chi entrate.
 
LOL my all time favorite...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2006 at 22:18
Here's a poem by an ancient Chinese statesman in the state of Chu, an avid poet named Qu Yuan (lived 339-278 BC), who's life was ultimately a failure when he failed to save his state and monarch from defeat and ultimately a later destruction. The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is still practiced every year in China in honor of this man. Here's a poem of his below:
 
IPB Image

CROSSING THE RIVER


Since I was young I have worn gorgeous dress
And still love raiment rare,
A long gem-studded sword hangs at my side,
And a tall hat I wear.
Bedecked with pearls that glimmer like the moon,
With pendent of fine jade,
Though there are fools who cannot understand,
I ride by undismayed.

Then give me green-horned serpents for my steed,
Or dragons white to ride,
In paradise with ancient kings I'd roam,
Or the world's roof bestride.
My life should thus outlast the universe,
With sun and moon supreme.
By southern savages misunderstood,
At dawn I ford the stream.

I gaze my last upon the river bank,
The autumn breeze blows chill.
I halt my carriage here within the wood
My steeds beside the hill.
In covered vessel travelling upstream,
The men bend to their oars;
The boat moves slowly, strong the current sweeps,
Nearby a whirlpool roars.

I set out from the bay at early dawn,
And reach the town at eve.
Since I am upright, and my conscience clear,
Why should I grieve to leave?
I linger by the tributary stream,
And know not where to go.
The forest stretches deep and dark around,
Where apes swing to and fro.

The beetling cliffs loom high to shade the sun,
Mist shrouding every rift,
With sleet and rain as far as eye can see,
Where low the dense clouds drift.
Alas! all joy has vanished from my life,
Alone beside the hill.
Never to follow fashion will I stoop,
Then must live lonely still.

One sage of old had head shaved like a slave,
Good ministers were killed,
In nakedness one saint was forced to roam,
Another's blood was spilled.
This has been so from ancient times till now,
Then why should I complain?
Unflinchingly I still shall follow truth,
Nor care if I am slain.

Refrain
Now, the phoenix dispossessed,
In the shrine crows make their nest.
Withered is the jasmine rare,
Fair is foul, and foul is fair,
Light is darkness, darkness day,
Sad at heart I haste away.


Here's more poems by Tao Qian (365-427 AD), also known as Tao Yuanming, who lived during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, a troubled divisionary period of Chinese history between the central-state unifications of the Han and Sui/Tang Dynasties.

Returning to Live in the South


When young, I'd not enjoyed the common pleasures,
My nature's basic love was for the hills.
Mistakenly I fell into the worldly net,
And thus remained for thirteen years.
A bird once caged must yearn for its old forest,
A fish in a pond will long to return to the lake.
So now I want to head to southern lands,
Returning to my fields and orchards there.
About ten acres of land is all I have,
Just eight or nine rooms there in my thatched hut.
There's shade from elms and willows behind the eaves,
Before the hall are gathered peaches and plums.
Beyond the dark and distance lies a village,
The smoke above reluctant to depart.
A dog is barking somewhere down the lane,
And chickens sit atop the mulberry tree.
The mundane world has no place in my home,
My modest rooms are for the most part vacant.
At last I feel released from my confinement,
I set myself to rights again.


Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 27-Oct-2006 at 02:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2006 at 22:34
I like Japanese Haiku:
 
古池や蛙飛込む水の音 
Furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto
an old pond
the sound of a frog jumping
into water
 
 
初しぐれ猿も小蓑をほしげ也
Hatsu shigure saru mo komino wo hoshige nari
the first cold shower;
even the monkey seems to want
a little coat of straw.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goban Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2006 at 01:29
The Hymn to Ninkasi: Within this hymn lies the oldest known recipe for the best beverage invented by man, or divinity...
 

Translation by Miguel Civil

Borne of the flowing water (...)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water (...)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,

Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you

Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,

Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake,
Ninkasi, Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.

You are the one who handles the dough, 
   [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics,
Ninkasi, You are the one who handles 
   the dough, [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with [date]-honey.

You are the one who bakes the bappir 
    in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,
Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes 
    the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,,

You are the one who waters the malt 
     set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,
Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt 
     set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates.

You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar
The waves rise, the waves fall.
Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks 
    the malt in a jar
The waves rise, the waves fall.

You are the one who spreads the cooked 
  mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes.
Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads 
   the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes.

You are the one who holds with both hands 
    the great sweet wort, 
Brewing [it] with honey and wine
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)
Ninkasi, (...)
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)

The filtering vat, which makes 
    a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on [top of] 
    a large collector vat.
Ninkasi, the filtering vat, 
    which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on [top of] 
    a large collector vat.

When you pour out the filtered beer 
    of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of 
    Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the
  filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of 
  Tigris and Euphrates.
The sharpest spoon in the drawer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2006 at 02:08
Thanks Goban! That was actually pretty cool.
 
This next poem, by Meng Haoran (lived 689-740 AD), is entitled Climbing Orchid Mountain in the Autumn to Zhang.

IPB Image


On a northern peak among white clouds
You have found your hermitage of peace;
And now, as I climb this mountain to see you,
High with the wildgeese flies my heart.
The quiet dusk might seem a little sad
If this autumn weather were not so brisk and clear;
I look down at the river bank, with homeward-bound villagers
Resting on the sand till the ferry returns;
There are trees at the horizon like a row of grasses
And against the river's rim an island like the moon
I hope that you will come and meet me, bringing a basket of wine --
And we'll celebrate together the Mountain Holiday.


IPB Image


Here's another good one by Meng Haoran, entitled In Summer at the South Pavilion Thinking of Xing.

The mountain-light suddenly fails in the west,
In the east from the lake the slow moon rises.
I loosen my hair to enjoy the evening coolness
And open my window and lie down in peace.
The wind brings me odours of lotuses,
And bamboo-leaves drip with a music of dew....
I would take up my lute and I would play,
But, alas, who here would understand?
And so I think of you, old friend,
O troubler of my midnight dreams!


IPB Image


IPB Image


Another by Meng Haoran, this one called At the Mountain-Lodge of the Buddhist Priest Ye Waiting in Vain for My Friend Ding.

IPB Image


Now that the sun has set beyond the western range,
Valley after valley is shadowy and dim....
And now through pine-trees come the moon and the chill of evening,
And my ears feel pure with the sound of wind and water
Nearly all the woodsmen have reached home,
Birds have settled on their perches in the quiet mist....
And still -- because you promised -- I am waiting for you, waiting,
Playing lute under a wayside vine.


IPB Image


Good stuff,
Eric
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2006 at 02:15
Here's another Tang-era one from Du Fu (lived 712-770 AD), entitled A View of Taishan:

IPB Image

What shall I say of the Great Peak? --
The ancient dukedoms are everywhere green,
Inspired and stirred by the breath of creation,
With the Twin Forces balancing day and night.
...I bare my breast toward opening clouds,
I strain my sight after birds flying home.
When shall I reach the top and hold
All mountains in a single glance?

Another one by Du Fu entitled Alone in Her Beauty

Who is lovelier than she?
Yet she lives alone in an empty valley.
She tells me she came from a good family
Which is humbled now into the dust.
...When trouble arose in the Kuan district,
Her brothers and close kin were killed.
What use were their high offices,
Not even shielding their own lives? --
The world has but scorn for adversity;
Hope goes out, like the light of a candle.
Her husband, with a vagrant heart,
Seeks a new face like a new piece of jade;
And when morning-glories furl at night
And mandarin-ducks lie side by side,
All he can see is the smile of the new love,
While the old love weeps unheard.
The brook was pure in its mountain source,
But away from the mountain its waters darken.
...Waiting for her maid to come from selling pearls
For straw to cover the roof again,
She picks a few flowers, no longer for her hair,
And lets pine-needles fall through her fingers,
And, forgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold,
She leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo.

Yet another from Du Fu, entitled Seeing Li Bai in a Dream (Part I)

There are sobs when death is the cause of parting;
But life has its partings again and again.
...From the poisonous damps of the southern river
You had sent me not one sign from your exile --
Till you came to me last night in a dream,
Because I am always thinking of you.
I wondered if it were really you,
Venturing so long a journey.
You came to me through the green of a forest,
You disappeared by a shadowy fortress....
Yet out of the midmost mesh of your snare,
How could you lift your wings and use them?
...I woke, and the low moon's glimmer on a rafter
Seemed to be your face, still floating in the air.
...There were waters to cross, they were wild and tossing;
If you fell, there were dragons and rivermonsters.

Seeing Li Bai in a Dream (Part II)

This cloud, that has drifted all day through the sky,
May, like a wanderer, never come back....
Three nights now I have dreamed of you --
As tender, intimate and real as though I were awake.
And then, abruptly rising to go,
You told me the perils of adventure
By river and lake-the storms, the wrecks,
The fears that are borne on a little boat;
And, here in my doorway, you rubbed your white head
As if there were something puzzling you.
...Our capital teems with officious people,
While you are alone and helpless and poor.
Who says that the heavenly net never fails?
It has brought you ill fortune, old as you are.
...A thousand years' fame, ten thousand years' fame-
What good, when you are dead and gone.

This next one was written by Wang Wei (701-761), who in 758 rose to become the high-office Chancellor at the Imperial Court of Chang'an (modern-day Xian City), capital of the Tang Dynasty. When the rebels of the An Lushan Rebellion took over the city, Wang Wei wittingly employed a ruse in order not to serve them, by pretending to have gone deaf, and pulled it off! Lol. This poem is called A Green Stream:

IPB Image

I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers,
Borne by the channel of a green stream,
Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains
On a journey of less than thirty miles....
Rapids hum over heaped rocks;
But where light grows dim in the thick pines,
The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns
And weeds are lush along the banks.
...Down in my heart I have always been as pure
As this limpid water is....
Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock
And to cast a fishing-line forever!


Here's another by Wang Wei, entitled Farm House on the Wei River:

In the slant of the sun on the country-side,
Cattle and sheep trail home along the lane;
And a rugged old man in a thatch door
Leans on a staff and thinks of his son, the herdboy.
There are whirring pheasants? full wheat-ears,
Silk-worms asleep, pared mulberry-leaves.
And the farmers, returning with hoes on their shoulders,
Hail one another familiarly.
...No wonder I long for the simple life
And am sighing the old song, Oh, to go Back Again!


Yet another from Wang Wei, entitled the Beautiful Xi Shi

IPB Image

Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire,
How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home? --
Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake --
And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north:
Lowly one day, no different from the others,
The next day exalted, everyone praising her.
No more would her own hands powder her face
Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.
And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked,
Blinding him away from wisdom.
...Girls who had once washed silk beside her
Were kept at a distance from her chariot.
And none of the girls in her neighbours' houses
By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.


Eric

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Siege Tower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Nov-2006 at 17:39
i am surprised the translation actually have rhymes!
but the translation seems lost all the original meanings, as a matter of fact, i am quiet familiar with these poems, to learn these poems, your have to know the author of the poem, and under what circumstance did he/she wrote the poem. the most important thing is that you have to know Chinese, i suppose Korean and Japnease works too but translations is not accurate.



Edited by Siege Tower - 14-Nov-2006 at 20:38
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