On Parting (visiting Tu Mu)

On Parting

I am almost alone in my loneliness
Drink in hand, it’s hard to smile
Like the candle’s flame, I long to stay
Like the candle, my tears fall at dawn

On Parting.jpg

Literal translations of classic Chinese poetry can be found at chinese-poems.com. This is my interpretation of a poem by Tu Mu. The literal translation, as provided at
chinese-poems.com, is as follows:

On Parting

Much feeling but seem all without feeling
Think feel glass before smile not develop
Candle have heart too reluctant to part
Instead person shed tear at dawn

Image source: sohu.com
(Plum blossom and red candle, by Qi Baishi)
More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

35 thoughts on “On Parting (visiting Tu Mu)

  1. So well done, “almost alone in my loneliness” the passage of night, the sputtering of the flame for companionship, you have framed an emotional place so well. Literal translations fall so short, This is piercingly lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Grace wrote, your version of the poem carries life, when the literal translation feel cold and lifeless, to the reader. One of the major problems, a reader has, when reading a literal translation, there is no accounting for colloquial language, word play or changes, how the written language is used. A translator is a poet, in themselves, as the words flow to the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

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