Deer Enclosure (visiting Wang Wei)

Deer Enclosure (visiting Wang Wei)

Loneliness on empty hill
Hearing voices of past visitors
Same when visiting deep forest
Green moss shining in reflected light

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

Deer Enclosure

Empty hill not see person
Yet hear person voice sound
Return scene enter deep forest
Duplicate light green moss on

 

Image source: Sotheby’s – Deer under Pine Tree, by Shen Quan

More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

Linked to Open Link Night #259 at dVerse Poets Pub.

Drunken Sleep (visiting Tu Mu)

Seeing Robert Okaji’s Thinking of Li Po at Sky’s End reminded me that I’ve had this Chinese interpretation (key word: interpretation!) in my draft folder for a few months. I decided I probably should post it while the calendar says it’s (technically) still autumn – although the snow here would say otherwise.

Drunken Sleep (visiting Tu Mu)

This wine is fit for an autumn rain
in the cold, as leaves fall around the house.
There is no need to go out, only to sleep.
Time for one more cup when this one is empty.

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:

Drunken Sleep

Autumn wine rain in well made
Cold house fall leaf in
Hermit really much asleep
More pour one cup empty

Image source: Harvard Art Museums – Night Rain at Karasaki, by Utagawa Hiroshige

More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

Mountain Travel (visiting Tu Mu)

Mountain Travel (visiting Tu Mu)

A steep stone path climbs the distant cold mountain
with homes high in the white clouds.
I stop the carriage to admire the maples in the evening.
No spring flower can compare to their frosted red leaves.

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:

Mountain Travel

Far on cold mountain stone path slant
White cloud live place be households
Stop carriage because love maple forest evening
Frost leaf red than second month flower

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – Maple in Autumn by Tosa Mitsuoki

More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

A Light Boat with Short Oars (visiting Ouyang Xiu)

A Light Boat with Short Oars

Traveling west on the lake, short oars serve me well,
as I follow the water along the green, curving shore.
The faint sound of pipe music follows me,
flowing through the fragrant grass of the dike.

The water sits like glass in the still air,
holding my gaze as boats pass me without notice.
I sit unaware of my boat’s movement as their ripples reach me,
until startled sandpipers fly past the brush on the bank.

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

A Light Boat with Short Oars (Picking Mulberries)

Light boat short oar west lake good
Green water gently curving
Fragrant grass long dyke
Faint pipe song everywhere follow

Without wind water surface glaze smooth
Not notice boat move
Little move ripples
Startle rise sand bird brush bank fly

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
(Sandpipers, by Ohara Koson)
More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

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.

Ancient Air No. 39 (visiting Li Po)

 

Ancient Air No. 39

Climbing a great height, I look upon the four seas.
From heaven to earth, I can see forever.
The colors of autumn are muted by frost
blown by the coldest desert wind.
As it sweeps across the mighty eastward flowing river,
thousands of clouds billow from its force,
and the sun’s brightness fades
behind the endless cover of white.
Swallows and sparrows nest in the parasol tree,
and a beautiful phoenix finds shelter among jujube thorns.
I’ve come this way many times,
singing as I carry my sword on this difficult road.

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

Ancient Air (39)

Ancient Air No 39.jpgClimb high gaze four seas
Heaven earth how vast vast
Frost blanket crowd thing autumn
Wind blow big desert cold
Magnificent east flow water
10,000 thing all billow
White sun cover elapse brilliance
Float cloud without certain end
Wutong nest swallow sparrow
Thorn jujube perch yuan luan
Moreover again return go come
Sword sing travel road difficult

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
(by Wang Shimin, 1666)
More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

Drinking Alone (visiting Tu Mu)

 

Drinking Alone (visiting Tu Mu)

Outside my window, the wind blows the snow sideways.
I open a flask and let the wine and stove take me in,
much like a fishing boat in the rain
with sail down, as one with the sleepy autumn river.

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:

Drinking AloneDrinking Alone

Window outside straight wind snow
Embrace stove open wine flask
How like fishing boat rain
Sail down sleep autumn river

Image source: Fishing in Moonlight by Kawase Hasui,
          via erawoodblockprints.com
More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

Sighs of Autumn Rain No. 2 (visiting Tu Fu)

Sigh of Autumn Rain No 2

Sighs of Autumn Rain No. 2 (visiting Tu Fu)

The swirling wind driving the rain seems never ending.
The four seas and eight wastes are one, beneath a great cloud.
An ox passes me. Or, is it a horse. Who can tell?
How can the Jing River be told from the Wei, muddy from clear?
The millet may grow, but the grain’s ear has turned black.
A farmer and his wife can expect no hopeful news for their fields.
In the city, a basket of rice is worth a silk quilt.
Both buyer and seller think theirs is the better deal.

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:

Sighs of Autumn Rain (2)

Continuous wind long rain autumn numerous and confused
Four seas eight wastes together one cloud
Go horse come ox no longer distinguish
Muddy Jing clear Wei how now distinguish
Grain head grow ear millet ear black
Farmer field wife without news
City in ten litres rice exchange quilt silk
Agree better consider both mutual worth

Image source: wikiart.org – Bamboo Groves in Mist and Rain – Guan Daosheng (1308)
More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

Autumn Meditations No. 2 (visiting Tu Fu)

Autumn Meditations 2

 

Autumn Meditations No. 2 (visiting Tu Fu)

The sun sets beyond Kuizhou’s wall, casting long shadows
Always, the Dipper Mansion leads my eye to Chang’an
Hearing a gibbon’s call, the third time brings a tear
I set out on an August mission by raft, never reaching home
Lighting ministry incense is a far cry from visions of a comforting pillow
Faint, sad reed flutes are heard from the mountain tower’s white battlements
Look now, under the moon, at the morning glories on the stones
Already, the rush flowers glow on the islet shore

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:

Autumn Meditations (2)

Kui prefecture lonely wall set sun slant
Every rely Southern Dipper gaze capital city
Hear ape real fall three sound tear
Sent on mission vain follow eight month raft
Picture ministry incense stove apart hidden pillow
Mountain tower white battlements hide sad reed whistle
Ask look stone on creeper moon
Already reflect islet before rushes reeds flowers

The “Twenty-eight Mansions” are part of the Chinese constellations system.

Attempts by Tu Fu at attaining a position in civil service often proved futile, yet, when successful, those positions seldom were fulfilling. Three years before his death, he traveled down the Yangtze River, in an attempt to reach his ancestral home in Henan province. Due to ill health, he stayed for two years in Kuizhou, where he wrote prolifically. He then journeyed again, getting as far as Hunan province, where he died. Further details here.

More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

Overflowing (visiting Tu Fu)

 

Overflowing (visiting Tu Fu)

Overflowing_a

Image: Kawase Hasui, via asia.si.edu

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:

Overflowing

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.