Overflowing (visiting Tu Fu)
The river’s surface reflects the moon, just out of reach
A lantern shines as midnight nears
An egret sleeps, its head curled, at one with the sand
A fish jumps behind the boat, and I hear it splash
Literal translations of classic Chinese poetry can be found at chinese-poems.com. This is my interpretation of a poem by Tu Fu. The literal translation, as provided at chinese-poems.com, is as follows:
River moon go person only few feet
Lantern shine night approach third watch
Sand head overnight egret join curl peaceful
Boat stern jump splash noise
Alternate (simpler) interpretation:
Moon shining on river beside my boat
Lantern lights my way at midnight
Egret sleeping soundly, its head curled in the sand
Behind the boat, a fish jumps and splashes
What message is this simple verse meant to deliver? Is it the peacefulness of the scene? The distance of the moon, emphasized by the insubstantial form of its reflection? The freedom the fish enjoys while the egret rests? The many messages delivered to the senses? The sense of being part of something greater?
If it is the latter, are the questions even asked, or is all simply a given?
Perhaps it is all of these.
More Chinese interpretations can be found here.