Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

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Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:28 pm

Golden Dragon Zen Temple
-- Luofu

Reordering


the evening bell
— the path for visitors to descend
along white stone steps
ferns chewing
all the way down

if it snowed here

all could be seen
is a grey cicada
startled in flight
lighting up
the mountain lamps
one by one

~~
Revised

the evening bell
— the path for visitors to descend
ferns
chewing all the way down
along white stone steps

if it snowed here

you would only see
a grey cicada
startled in flight
lighting up
the mountain lamps
one by one

~~
Original

evening bell
is the path for the visitors to descend
ferns
along the white stone steps
chewing all way down

if it snows here

you will only see
a grey cicada
startled in flight
lighting up
the mountain lamps
one by one
Last edited by Lake on Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Antcliff » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Hello Lake,

Intriguing. :D

One bit puzzles me at the moment though. In that first stanza is it the ferns or the visitors (or both!) "chewing all the way down"?

I love the idea of mountain lamps being lit one by one.


Seth
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:29 pm

Glad to see you here, Seth.

It is ferns chewing all the way down. :)
Or how to phrase it to make it clear?

I like the idea of the cicada lighting mountain lamps, too.

It's a translation, so any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you,
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby twoleftfeet » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:53 pm

Hi, Lake

"Evening bell" is a species of flower, yes?

Those first 2 lines are tricky:.
I would be tempted to omit "is" for the sake of the rhythm
and also lose the article for "visitors" because (I suspect) that we are talking about any and all visitors:

evening bell
- the path for visitors to descend


Also,I think
chewing all way down
needs an article -

chewing all the way down
- however I have no idea what this means.
Perhaps you can clarify who/what is chewing what?

Also, in the second stanza, I'm baffled by how the cicada can light up the lamps one by one.
Clearly I'm missing something (it's called "comprehension", I believe :) )

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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:01 pm

Hi Geoff,

Glad to see you again (a new avatar)!

twoleftfeet wrote:
"Evening bell" is a species of flower, yes?


No, it is not a flower. It's the temple bell. I don't like articles but now I see the confusion without adequately using it. Or "the evening bell" ?

twoleftfeet wrote:Those first 2 lines are tricky:.
I would be tempted to omit "is" for the sake of the rhythm
and also lose the article for "visitors" because (I suspect) that we are talking about any and all visitors:

evening bell
- the path for visitors to descend


Also,I think
chewing all way down
needs an article -


Very good suggestions. I don't like "is", but I didn't know what to do with it. Now it works perfectly without it.

twoleftfeet wrote:chewing all the way down
- however I have no idea what this means.
Perhaps you can clarify who/what is chewing what?


Neither do I. What I can visulize is that the shapes of the fern leaves look like teeth so the verb "chewing" is used?

twoleftfeet wrote:Also, in the second stanza, I'm baffled by how the cicada can light up the lamps one by one.
Clearly I'm missing something (it's called "comprehension", I believe :) )


In reality, a cicada can't light up lamps. I think it is how the reader imagine ...
It is a poem that has a flexible, unpredictable, intangible feel to me.

Thanks Geoff for all the good suggestions.

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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby twoleftfeet » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:43 pm

Lake wrote:
twoleftfeet wrote:
"Evening bell" is a species of flower, yes?


No, it is not a flower. It's the temple bell. I don't like articles but now I see the confusion without adequately using it. Or "the evening bell" ?


Ah - I see: there is a Bellflower, so I put 2 +2 together and made 5. :oops:
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Antcliff » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:47 pm

Hi!
I wonder about rotating lines 4 and 5? It would link the chewing and ferns more directly?

Just a thought.

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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:56 pm

Antcliff wrote:Hi!
I wonder about rotating lines 4 and 5? It would link the chewing and ferns more directly?

Just a thought.

seth


Ha, that's what it was in my first draft. I'll put it back right away!

Thanks so much!

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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby twoleftfeet » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:37 am

I keep coming back to this, Lake.

"Chewing all the way down" threw me because I was getting an image of eating something bit by bit e.g. a stalk,
whereas "all the way down" (probably) refers to the path, which is composed of white stone steps.

Also, I'm guessing that the ferns are encroaching along the path - either getting in the way of the walkers or breaking up the uniformity of the whiteness.

So I tentatively suggest this reordering, which permits "along" to be associated with "descend" and "ferns" (I hope):

the evening bell
- the path for visitors to descend
along the white stone steps
ferns chewing
all the way down


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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby twoleftfeet » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:42 am

btw Seth - welcome to this sparsely populated region of the forum, which relies almost entirely on Lake's contributions.
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:55 pm

Hi again, Geoff,

All logical thinking. :)

What a difference the position of the line makes.
I like your reordering which associates with both "ferns" and "descend".

Thanks much!

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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby David » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:57 am

Hi Lake, lovely images here - you're always so pictorial! - but that "chewing" is still not working for me.

How would you feel about something like this?

along white stone steps
chewed by ferns
all the way down


Actually, I think gnawed or (especially) nibbled might be even better.

Chewers

David

twoleftfeet wrote:btw Seth - welcome to this sparsely populated region of the forum, which relies almost entirely on Lake's contributions.

Quite right! More translations needed. Over the last twelvemonth I've had tentative goes at poems by Valéry, Rilke and Baudelaire, but I got stuck every time. Oh bugger it, I might post my imperfect Rilke anyway.
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby twoleftfeet » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:29 am

David wrote:Hi Lake, lovely images here - you're always so pictorial! - but that "chewing" is still not working for me.

How would you feel about something like this?

along white stone steps
chewed by ferns
all the way down


Actually, I think gnawed or (especially) nibbled might be even better.) [i]

[/u]
Chewers

David


Good :idea: !


David wrote:
twoleftfeet wrote:btw Seth - welcome to this sparsely populated region of the forum, which relies almost entirely on Lake's contributions.

Quite right! More translations needed. Over the last twelvemonth I've had tentative goes at poems by Valéry, Rilke and Baudelaire, but I got stuck every time. Oh bugger it, I might post my imperfect Rilke anyway.


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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:45 pm

Hi David,

Thank you for stopping by and providing me something to chew on.

David wrote:but that "chewing" is still not working for me.

How would you feel about something like this?

along white stone steps
chewed by ferns
all the way down


Actually, I think gnawed or (especially) nibbled might be even better.



You made me go back to the original script. The word "fern" has different names in Chinese, while in the orginial scrip it is worded as "sheep teeth" prefered among local people because of its shape. That's why the word "chew" is used. I guess sheep also gnaw the grass, don't they? The literary meaning is "the fern chews its way all the way down", but I don't like "way " is repeated so closely.

I'll have another think on this. Sometimes, it needs more time to click in.

Thank you very much for your offering.

Lake
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Macavity » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:03 pm

hi Lake,
Perhaps some words are not for translation. Like the others I found chewing not being used here in the English speaking cultural context.

Maybe a simple word would be best in the context of the poem?

the evening bell
— the path for visitors to descend
along white stone steps
ferns root
all the way down

if it snowed here

all could be seen
is a grey cicada
startled in flight
lighting up
the mountain lamps
one by one



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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:13 pm

Hi Mac,

Thanks for visiting this English Corner! Yes, I need help with the translation. If three of you think "chewing" is not the right word, then it must be wrong. I'll take David's suggestion of "nibble" then.

Thank you for your opinion.

Lake
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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Antcliff » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:36 pm

Hi Lake

a friend suggested that I read a short book called "19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei" by Eliot Weinberger+Octavia Paz. It is 19 different translations of a poem by Wang Wei. I am enjoying reading the versions. It makes me appreciate the difficulties that face the translator.

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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Lake » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:03 pm

Hi Seth,

Glad to know that you read Wang Wei, one of my favoirte poets.

Have you come across Thirty-one Translations of Matsuo Bashô's Frog Haiku-

http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passa ... o-frog.htm

Thanks for reading my translation.

PS: Now I am reading One Hundred Frogs by Hiroaki Sato. It's just so amazing some translations (rewrite?) are in the form of limerick and sonnet, and another one is even pictographic.

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Re: Golden Dragon Zen Temple -Luofu

Postby Antcliff » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:09 am

Thank you Lake for introducing me to so many frogs! Fun.

I have not (yet) read much Wang Wei...I have just been introduced to the poet.



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