北島 – 拉姆安拉 – Bei Dao – Ramallah

拉姆安拉

在拉姆安拉
古人在星空對奕
殘局忽明忽暗
那被鐘關住的鳥
跳出來報時

在拉姆安拉
太陽象老頭翻牆
穿過农贸市場
在生鏽的銅盤上
照亮了自己

在拉姆安拉
諸神從瓦罐飲水
弓向獨弦問路
一個少年到天邊
去繼承大海

在拉姆安拉
死亡沿正午播種
在我窗前開花
抗拒中樹得颶風
那狂暴原形

(Bei Dao, Beijing, 2 August 1949)



Ramallah

in Ramallah
the ancients play chess in the starry sky
the endgame flickers
a bird locked in a clock
jumps out to tell the time

in Ramallah
the sun climbs over the wall like an old man
and goes through the flea market
throwing mirror light on
a rusted copper plate

in Ramallah
gods drink water from earthen jars
a bow asks a string for directions
a boy sets out to inherit the ocean
from the edge of the sky

in Ramallah
seeds sown along the high noon
death blossoms outside my window
resisting, the tree takes on a hurricane's
violent original shape

(Translation by Eliot Weinberger)
-You can listen to the poem read on this page at Lyrikline)

白居易 – 清夜琴兴 Bai Juyi (Po Chu I) – Ch’in song in clear night


202px-Songhuizong8
月出鸟栖尽,寂然坐空林。
是时心境闲,可以弹素琴。
清泠由木性,恬澹随人心。
心积和平气,木应正始音。
响余群动息,曲罢秋夜深。
正声感元化,天地清沉沉。

(Bai Juyi, Xinzheng 772-846)

The moon's risen. Birds have settled in.

Now, sitting in these empty woods, silent

mind sounding the borders of idleness,

I can tune the ch'in's utter simplicities:

from the wood's nature, a cold clarity,

from a person's mind, a blank repose.

When mind's gathered clear calm ch'i,

wood can make such sudden song of it,

and after lingering echoes die away,

song fading into depths of autumn night,

you suddenly hear the source of change,

all heaven and earth such depths of clarity.

(Translated by David Hinton, The Selected Poems of Po Chu-I, Anvil)

Painting: Song Huizong, "Ting Qin Tu" 聽琴圖 Listening to the Qin (= Ch'in)

李煜 – 虞美人Li Yu – Poem to the tune of Yu mei-ren

春花秋月何时了,
往事知多少。
小楼昨夜又东风,
故国不堪回首月明中。

雕栏玉砌应犹在,
只是朱颜改。
问君能有几多愁,
恰是一江春水向东流。

chūn huā qiū yuè hé shí le ,
wǎng shì zhī duō shǎo 。
xiǎo lóu zuó yè yòu dōng fēng ,
gù guó bù kān huí shǒu yuè míng zhòng 。

diāo lán yù qì yìng yóu zài ,
zhǐ shì zhū 颜gǎi 。
wèn jūn néng yǒu jī duō chóu ,
qìa shì yī jiāng chūn shuǐ xiàng dōng liú 。

(李煜Li Yu, Jinling (now Nanjing) 937- 975)

 

 

Flowers in spring, moonlight in fall,
            when will they ever end?   
and how much can we know 
            of what is past and gone?   
Upstairs in my room last night 
    the east wind came again;
I cannot bear to turn and look home
    In the light of the moon.
Its carved railings and marble pavements
    are, I’m sure, still there –
all that changes is the flush
    on the face of youth.
Tell me then of sorrow – how much can there be?
It is exactly like:
                a whole river of springtime waters
                              flowing off to the East.

 

(Translation Stephen Owen- An anthology of Chinese literature)   

關雎 – Anonymous- Fishhawk


關關雎鳩、在河之洲。
窈宨淑女、君子好逑。

參差荇菜、左右流之。
窈宨淑女、寤寐求之。
求之不得、寤寐思服。
悠哉悠哉、輾轉反側。

參差荇菜、左右采之。
窈宨淑女、琴瑟友之。
參差荇菜、左右芼之。
窈宨淑女、 鍾鼓樂之。

 

guān guān jū jiū zài hé zhī zhōu
yáo tiáo shū n
ǚ jūn zǐ hǎo qiú


cēn cī xìng cài zu
ǒ yòu liú zhī
yáo tiáo shū n
ǚ wù mèi qiú zhī
qiú zhī bù dé wù mèi sī fú
yōu zāi yōu zāi zh
ǎn zhǔan fǎn cè



cēn cī xìng cài zu
ǒ yòu cǎi zhī
yáo tiáo shū n
ǚ qín sè yǒu zhī
cēn cī xìng cài zu
ǒ yòu mǎo zhī
yáo tiáo shū n
ǚ zhōng gǔ yuè zhī

 

(c 600 BC or earlier – from Shī Jīng The Classic of Poetry aka The Book of Odes aka The Book of Songs) 

 

The fishhawks sing gwan gwan

on sandbars of the stream.

Gentle maiden, pure and fair,

fit pair for a prince.

 

Watercress grows here and there,

right and left we gather it.

Gentle maiden, pure and fair,

wanted waking and asleep.

Wanting, sought her, had her not,

waking sleeping, thought of her,

on and on he thought of her,

he tossed from one side to another.

 

Watercress grows here and there,

right and left we pullit.

gentle maiden, pure and fair,

with harps we bring her company.

 

Watercress grows here and there,

right and left we pick it out.

gentle maiden, pure and fair,

with bells and drums do her delight.

(Translation Stephen Owen- An anthology of Chinese Literature)

 

杜牧 – 泊秦淮 – Du Mu – Mooring on the Qin Huai River

煙籠寒水月籠沙,
夜泊秦淮近酒家。
 
商女不知亡國恨,
隔江猶唱後庭花。

(Du Mu, Chang’an [today’s Xian] 803-852)

(Smoke shroud cold water moon shroud sand/ night moor Qin Huai near wine shop/merchant daughter/s not know lost kingdom grief/across river still sing Rear Court Flowers.)

Mist veils the cold water, moonlight veils
the sand,
By night we moor on the Qin Huai near to some taverns,
The songstress girls know nothing of the sadness of a perished kingdom,
Across  the river they are still singing “Flowers
 in the Rear Court”

(the song the girls sing was one of the favourites of the last Chen emperor,  Chen Shubao – reigned 582-589).


賈島 – 尋隱者不遇 Jia Dao – Seeking the Master but not Finding him

松下問童子
言師採藥去
隻在此山中
雲深不知處

(Sōng xià wèn tóng zǐ
Yán shī cǎi yào qù
zhǐ zài cǐ shān zhōng
Yún shēn bù zhī chù)

Jia Dao (Hebei 779 – Chang’An 843)


Under pines I ask a boy,
he says: "Master’s gone to gather herbs.
I only know he’s on this mountain,
the clouds are dense, I don’t know where.