Untitled

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?
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Lake
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Untitled

Post by Lake » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:23 pm

V1
All day long I seek spring and see no spring,
my straw sandals tread on clouds over the furrows.
Coming back, I pick a plum blossom and smell it,
and look, spring already hangs on branches.

V2
All day long, I've been searching for spring to no avail,
my straw sandals walk in the clouds over the furrows.
Coming home, smiling, I pick a plum blossom and smell it,
lo and behold, spring has already hung fully on twigs.

--Anonymous Nun

尽日寻春不见春,
芒鞋踏遍陇头云。
归来笑拈梅花溴,
春在枝头已十分。

-某尼
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Re: Untitled

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:07 pm

Hi Lake,

I'm not sure whether I prefer V1 or V2.
V1 is more succinct, but V2 sounds more natural. Hmmm..

Sorry to sound thick, but has the blossom blossomed, as it were?
Or is spring waiting ready to burst forth?
I'm struggling to see how the poet can't find spring one moment, but then can.
Or does "spring" have an alternative meaning?


Geoff

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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:16 pm

twoleftfeet wrote:
I'm not sure whether I prefer V1 or V2.
V1 is more succinct, but V2 sounds more natural. Hmmm..

Hi Geoff,

Glad to see your opinions on the two versions. I can't decide either.
twoleftfeet wrote: I'm struggling to see how the poet can't find spring one moment, but then can.
Or does "spring" have an alternative meaning?
Exactly. This is a zen poem. :)

Best,

Lake
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Re: Untitled

Post by David » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:42 pm

I like V1. There are at least two way too awkward / poetical phrases - "to no avail" and "lo and behold" - in V2, whereas V1 seems as pure and fresh as (yes!) a walk in the early spring.

However, what's going on with those clouds? You're walking in the clouds? I don't really get that but, Lake, I do like this. (V1 that is!)

Cheers

David

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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:03 am

David wrote:There are at least two way too awkward / poetical phrases - "to no avail" and "lo and behold" - in V2,
You scratch where it itches, David. :oops:
David wrote:whereas V1 seems as pure and fresh as (yes!) a walk in the early spring.
Big Yes! A walk in the early spring, looking for signs of spring and then all of a sudden realizing spring has already arrived.
David wrote:However, what's going on with those clouds?
I have problem with that too. But I picture it as when the sky and earth meet at the horizon, it feels like one walks on the clouds. Yes, no? :?

Thanks for liking V1.

Best,

Lake
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Re: Untitled

Post by David » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:31 pm

Lake wrote:
David wrote:However, what's going on with those clouds?
I have problem with that too. But I picture it as when the sky and earth meet at the horizon, it feels like one walks on the clouds. Yes, no? :?
Yeeeeees. Ish.

Geoff?

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Re: Untitled

Post by twoleftfeet » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:54 pm

David wrote:
Lake wrote:
David wrote:However, what's going on with those clouds?
I have problem with that too. But I picture it as when the sky and earth meet at the horizon, it feels like one walks on the clouds. Yes, no? :?
Yeeeeees. Ish.

Geoff?

I found this on the Web

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Not the Wind, Not the Flag:

That evening, the monks discussed how they would challenge Yangshan to test his understanding. One suggested the well-known koan sometimes called "Not the Wind, Not the Flag." Recorded as the 29th koan of the Mumonkan, this koan is about a teaching of Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an (Zen). The koan:

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said, "The flag is moving."

The other said, "The wind is moving."

The Sixth Patriarch happened to be passing by. He told them, "Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving."
Not Wind, Not Flag, Not Mind:

As the monks debated the koan, Miaoxin listened from another room. "How lamentable, you seventeen blind donkeys!"
she said. "How many straw sandals have you wasted? The buddha dharma has not yet appeared even in your dreams!"
When the monks were told what Miaoxin had said, they went to her, bowed, and inquired about the Dharma.

Miaoxin then said, "Step forward!"

As the seventeen monks were walking toward her, Miaoxin said, it's not the wind moving, it's not the flag moving, it's not the mind moving."

All the monks realized enlightenment. They thanked Miaoxin and returned to Shu without seeing Yangshan.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IVHMO the sandals may represent the wandering aspect of the mind that comes into play when one is losing focus -
thought giving rise to thoughts giving rise to thoughts.
This part of the mind is said to be incapable of understanding a koan like the above.

Also sandals may represent effort (possibly wasted effort and, by association, wasted time)

Also Man is between Heaven (sky) and Earth (furrows) so maybe sandals=man in some way (other than the above).

I think I am clutching at straws (or maybe straw sandals..)

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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:10 pm

Thanks David, Geoff for coming back to it.

Geoff, I know the "Wind, Flag" story, but didn't know Miaoxin's story. That's interesting.

I'm not sure what to say re your reply, Geoff. You are a thinker.

Many thanks.

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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:15 pm

(I thought I might as well post another Untitled on this thread.)

A fishing line cast a thousand feet deep in the pond,
once a ripple flows, ten thousands follow.
Fish take no bait when night’s still, water cold,
fully loaded with moonlight, returns an empty boat.

-- boatmonk

千尺丝纶直下垂,
一波才动万波随。
夜尽水寒鱼不食,
满船空载月明归。

-船子德誠和尚
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Re: Untitled

Post by Gematria » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:27 pm

Just a thought: I wonder if there isn't some way to further emphasize the line-to-line parallelism which is so characteristic of Classical Chinese poetry. Note how the third character of the first two lines is a verb, for example. Also, there's a pretty excellent chiasmus in the first and final lines. 尽日, the first element of the first line, is a time-word just like yǐ shí fēn 已十分, which is the last element of the last line. Likewise, the character chūn 春 (spring) both ends the first line and begins the last.

And I'm not sure if there's any way to show this in translation, but I believe 寻 can also mean "find" as well as "seek" in classical texts.

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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:32 pm

Hello Gematria ,

Welcom on board. Glad there are more people involved in the translation discussion. You sound like you know quite well about Classical Chinese poetry, so I'm sure I can learn something from you. This is just a rough draft, not well polished yet. There's definately a lot of room to improve.
Gematria wrote:Just a thought: I wonder if there isn't some way to further emphasize the line-to-line parallelism which is so characteristic of Classical Chinese poetry. .
You are quite right, parallelism (or antithesis) is very characteristic of Classical Chinese poetry; besides parallel words and phrases, parallel lines often appear in lushi, a poem of eight lines. But I don't often read comtemporary Chinese poems with this technique.
Gematria wrote:Note how the third character of the first two lines is a verb, for example. Also, there's a pretty excellent chiasmus in the first and final lines. 尽日, the first element of the first line, is a time-word just like yǐ shí fēn 已十分, which is the last element of the last line. Likewise, the character chūn 春 (spring) both ends the first line and begins the last.
You have pointed out the techniques of the Chinese poem, but in translation, I'm afraid, sometimes it is very hard to place the words and sentences in the same order without sacrificing the meaning since these two languages are so different. There are a lot of instences where even the sentence structures need to be rearranged.
Gematria wrote:And I'm not sure if there's any way to show this in translation, but I believe 寻 can also mean "find" as well as "seek" in classical texts.
You are right again, 寻 can mean both, but here I interpret it as "look for".

I had a quick look at your blog. Some good translations. I am curious to know if you translate Chinese poetry from the original or from translated versions.

Thank you for your thought and input.

Best,

Lake
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Re: Untitled

Post by David » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:35 pm

Lake wrote:I had a quick look at your blog.
Me too.
Lake wrote:Some good translations. I am curious to know if you translate Chinese poetry from the original or from translated versions.
Me too. And that goes for Dutch et al as well.

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Re: Untitled

Post by Gematria » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:42 pm

Thank you. And yes, all my translations are done from the original, including Classical Chinese.

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Re: Untitled

Post by twoleftfeet » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:53 am

Gematria wrote:Thank you. And yes, all my translations are done from the original, including Classical Chinese.
Hi and welcome, Gematria.

Lake's sandals have been pacing a lonely furrow in this forum. It's good to see another critter, and if you post some
translations then so much the better.

Geoff

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Re: Untitled

Post by twoleftfeet » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:16 pm

Lake wrote:(I thought I might as well post another Untitled on this thread.)

A fishing line cast a thousand feet deep in the pond,
once a ripple flows, ten thousands follow.
Fish take no bait when night’s still, water cold,
fully loaded with moonlight, returns an empty boat.

-- boatmonk

千尺丝纶直下垂,
一波才动万波随。
夜尽水寒鱼不食,
满船空载月明归。

-船子德誠和尚

Beautiful little poem.
The "ten thousand (things)" refers to the illusory material world that the mind experiences when it is "moved" by
thoughts.
Hence "stillness" produces the "empty boat".

I'm having a little difficulty with "returns".
Is this verb meant to be associated with "night", "water" or "moonlight".
Or should I read it as "an empty boat returns"?

FWIW (bearing in mind I can't read the ideograms) I'm going to take some liberties. (I apologise in advance :) )

A fishing line cast a thousand feet deep in the pond;
once a ripple flows, ten thousand follow.
Fish take no bait when night’s still. Cool water,
flooded with moonlight, produces/reveals an empty boat.


Geoff

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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:51 pm

twoleftfeet wrote:
Gematria wrote:Thank you. And yes, all my translations are done from the original, including Classical Chinese.
Hi and welcome, Gematria.

Lake's sandals have been pacing a lonely furrow in this forum. It's good to see another critter, and if you post some
translations then so much the better.

Geoff
:) Thanks, Geoff. I smile at your words. I do possess a pair of straw sandals which is a piece of artwork, not for wearing.

I'll be back to your suggestions on the second poem after I think it over but I've already liked the last line of yours. :)

Best,

Lake
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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:41 pm

Gematria wrote:Thank you. And yes, all my translations are done from the original, including Classical Chinese.
Very impressive, Gematria. You're multi-lingual. Do you translate from English to other languages, say, from English to Chinese?

Best,

Lake
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Re: Untitled

Post by Gematria » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:52 pm

I tend to translate into English, mainly, since that is the predominant language of the Internet. I have also produced translations into French, Esperanto and Latin on occasion. And, as a matter of novelty, I've also translated a couple poems into Old English, to see if the idiom of Beowulf could still function as a poetic medium.

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Re: Untitled

Post by Lake » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:21 pm

Glad you like the poem, Geoff. And I always read your comments with great interest.
twoleftfeet wrote:
I'm having a little difficulty with "returns".
Is this verb meant to be associated with "night", "water" or "moonlight".
Or should I read it as "an empty boat returns"?
Yes, it should read as "an empty boat returns."

FWIW (bearing in mind I can't read the ideograms) I'm going to take some liberties. (I apologize in advance :) )
twoleftfeet wrote:A fishing line cast a thousand feet deep in the pond;
once a ripple flows, ten thousand follow.
Fish take no bait when night’s still. Cool water,
flooded with moonlight, produces/reveals an empty boat.
Though it is not what the original means, but as I said before I liked it. And if we are asked to rewrite the poem, you'll be the winner.

Here's the literal translation:

When the night is deep, water is cold, fish don't eat;
an empty boat fully loaded with bright moonlight returns.


It is that juxtaposition of "empty boat" and "a full load of moonlight".

Best regards,

Lake
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