26 May 2006

Here's another ci I don't much like, this one by Li Qingzhao. I read this one myself, no one to instruct me, and I see that my Chinese really isn't good enough to attempt translation. But heck, I don't know how to write poetry, either, so why not be delinquent on both ends? It's still fun.

To the tune of "Everlasting Happiness"

The setting sun is melting into gold,
Ranked clouds arrayed against the evening.
Stained willows sink in heavy mist,
And a plaintive flute sounds--
The one about the plum blossoms, falling.

Everywhere intent on spring.

Where are you?

It is lantern festival,
And the weather's calm,
But the way things are,
Wind and rain must follow.

People come together,
Good horse and grand carriage,
Celebrate their drinking friends and poet cronies.

In the full times, in Zhongzhou,
There was time,
In the women's quarters.

There was another lantern festival.
I put on emerald cap, gold-threaded gown:
Gorgeous, perfect.

I am thin, and faded.
The wind and time have snarled and streaked my hair.

I can't go out into the night.

Better just to hear,
Drifting in beneath the curtain,
The voices, and the laughter.

Another version--scroll down a bit--one I had to refer to when my comprehension broke down (along with one by C. H. Kwock and Vincent McHugh that's reprinted in Cyril Birch's anthology but is too typographically peculiar to attempt to reproduce here):

Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung


Lenora Bell said...

You're too modest. Or I'm not a good judge of poetry. Because I think your translated version is quite beautiful. I like the "poet cronies" and "drifting in beneath the curtain." I wish I could read the original. Alas, I probably only remember a grand total of 30 characters. It's sad. Maybe I'll be more studious this time around. Thanks for commenting on my blog, by the way. It's a good way to keep in touch.

Huar said...

Well, I wasn't precisely saying my translation was bad. More that I have no way of judging. Since I don't write poetry, I haven't developed any analytic capacity.