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07 SEPTEMBER 2011

馬致遠: 天淨沙: 秋思 Ma Zhiyuan: Tian Jing Sha: Autumn Thoughts"

This poem is a 曲 "qu" or song of the 元 Yuan Dynasty which is akin to 詞 "ci" or song of the 宋 Song Dynasty made up of long and short lines. I had earlier last May posted a Song "ci", Yue Fei's "The River All Red". This is my first attempt at a Yuan "qu". This poem is particularly challenging as it is a sheer juxtaposition of images, e.g. "dried vine(s)", "old tree(s)", "evening crow(s)" in the first line followed by more in subsequent lines. While I can simply present the images in sequence (montage?) like most faithful translators do, I have chosen to give a clear interpretation to the whole poem by adding verbs to 4 of the 5 lines. So we have "crows ... roosting", "homes of people nestling" leading up in contrast to "scrawny horse ... trudging", "sun ... setting" (verb in the original), and "wanderer ... a-roaming". "They have homes, while I don't," so to speak. In so doing, I of course run the risk of being labelled "a square peg in a round hole" or, more precisely, "an over-sized square peg fits not the round hole". But at least some consolation can be found in the "ing" rhyme in an AAAAA rhyme scheme made possible only by the addition of verbs not present but implied in the original. Please enjoy reading it out slowly, loudly.

馬致遠: 天淨沙秋思
Ma Zhiyuan (1260-1364): Tian Jing Sha (Sky Pure/Cleansed Sand): Autumn Thoughts

 
1 枯藤老樹昏鴉 
2 小橋流水人家 
3 古道西風瘦馬 
4 夕陽西下 
5 斷腸人在天涯 

 
1 An old tree, dried vines entwined, by ev’ning crows come roosting;
2 O’er a small bridge, by a running stream, homes of people nestling.
3 On an old road, in the autumn wind, a scrawny horse keeps trudging;
4 The sun, slanting, to the west, setting ---
5 Heart-torn, lovelorn, the wanderer, to the verge of the sky a-roaming.

 
Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者黄宏發 
18th August 2010 (revised 19.8.10; 20.8.10; 6.9.10)

Notes:
* The original is in 5 lines with the first 3 lines in 6 characters, the 4th a 4-character line and the last line back to 6 characters. The rhyme scheme is AAAAA with an “a” or “ah” rhyme. (It should be noted that although the last word in the last line is pronounced “ngai” in Cantonese, it is “ya” in Putonghua.). My English rendition emulates the pattern of the original with 6 beats/stresses in the first 3 lines and the last and 4 beats/stresses in the 4th line. My rhyme scheme is AAAAA like the original, with a uniform “ing” ending. Although, strictly speaking, a simple “ing” does not constitute a rhyme, the pattern is pleasing to the eye and the rendition, hopefully, also pleasing to the ear. As will be seen from the following work draft, most of the verbs ending with “ing” are not in the original (lines 1-3 and 5) but are added primarily to produce this eye rhyme pattern:-
Dried (bald/bare) vines, old tree, evening crows (add: roosting)
Small bridge, running water (stream/rivulet), people (others) homes (add: nestling)
Old road, west (autumn/high) wind, scrawny horse (add: trudging)
Evening sun west sets (slanting/setting)
Guts-torn (heart-torn/love-lorn) man at sky’s (land’s) end (add: roaming/a-roaming)
     As can also be seen from the above, although none of the verbs concerned is in the original, each and every is implied and is essential in translation whether into English or into modern day Chinese.
* Line 1: I had considered “dead”, “bald” and “bare” for  but have decided for “dried”. I have added “entwined”, which is not in the original, for assonance with “vines” in addition to being descriptive of a scene of the symbiosis of the tree and vines. The word “come” in “come roosting” should be read unstressed.
* Line 2: For I have chosen “stream” over “waters/rivulet”. For 人家 I had considered “others’ homesteads/homes of others” to cover the poet’s (though ambiguous, yet readily apparent) meaning that none of the houses is the wanderer’s home, but have decided that “homes of people” should suffice. “Nestle/nestling” here is ambiguously rich in meaning. It takes in the meaning of both “lie half hidden or embedded in some place” and “lie snugly in some situation”. (Shorter OxfordDictionary)
* Line 3: For 西風 I have rejected the literal “west wind(s)” as, to the Englishmen and the Europeans, west wind is a spring wind, Zephyr, which is not what the poet refers to. I have then considered “winds now high” but have decided for “in the autumn wind”. The word “keeps” in “keeps trudging” should be read unstressed.
* Line 5: I have spelt out  “man” as the “wanderer”. I had considered “to/in the/a land at the sky’s end a-roaming”, but have decided for “to the verge of the sky a-roaming”. I have added “a- (meaning in the process of)” to “roaming” so as to amplify my interpretation that 在天涯 means浪迹天涯 , not just “at the verge of the sky”, but “to the verge of the sky a-roaming”.

 

生日颂(或生日祝酒词)      ——给理波并同代的朋友                   □海子 
   在生日里我们要歌唱母亲  她们把我们领到这个不幸的人世  在这个世界上  只有她们  无限地热爱着我们  因为我们是她的一部分     在这个夜晚  我们必须回到生日  回到我们的诞生之日  甚至回到母亲的腹中  回到母亲的怀孕  和她平静的爱情     我会想到你——我的母亲  在一个冬天  怎样羞涩而温情地  向父亲暗示  你怀了孕  一个生命在腹中悸动     秋风四起时  你生下了我  秋天是一些美好的日子  黄金的日子  当白云徐徐伸展在天际  秋风阵阵  万木归一  秋天的灵魂吹动着人类的村庄和城镇  总有一些美好的婴儿诞生  那婴儿中就有我  先是牙牙学语  然后学习加减乘除  一次次艰难地造句  学习体育和艺术  终于卷入人生  卷入人生的痛苦     痛苦并非是人类的不幸  痛苦是全人类与生俱来的财富  痛苦产生了人类的老师  伟大的先知  产生了思想和艺术  朋友们,我的祝酒词是  愿你们一生  坎坷痛苦  不愿你们一帆风顺     朋友们  如果我们一帆风顺  我们不会在这里相聚  我们不会在这张堆满果实的酒桌上相遇  是痛苦携带着我们  来到这个夜晚  充满生日的气氛  在这张堆满果实的桌子上  我就是其中的一只果实  坐在其他果实中间     我就是其中的一只果实  在秋天  我说:我要变成酒精  我要变成使人沉醉的酒精  我要变成陪伴我们一生的痛苦的酒精     痛苦也是酒精  我们全都沉浸其中  只是分给每个人的酒杯不同 
    伟大的人  装满痛苦的酒杯更大  他们开怀畅饮     开怀畅饮  痛苦的酒  使人沉醉一生的酒     为了我们生病的柔弱的操劳一生的母亲     为了那些爱过我们或被我们爱着的女性     为了生日  为了生日之后我们开始置身人世 

Birthday Song (or birthday toasts)     - To the same generation Newport and friends                  □ haizi
   Where we want to sing the birthday motherThey led us to this unfortunate deadIn this world, only that they love us infinitelyBecause we are part of her
On this night we must return BirthdayBack to our date of birthEven back to the mother's wombBack to the mother's pregnancy and her calm love
I'll think of you - my motherIn a winter how shy and tenderlyTo his father suggests that you pregnantA throbbing life in the womb
Autumn everywhere when you gave birth to meAutumn is some wonderful golden days of the dayWhen the clouds in the sky slowly stretch million trees autumn bursts normalizedAutumn blows the human soul villages and townsThere are always some nice baby was bornThat baby in there I first babblingThen learn addition, subtraction sentences again strugglingInvolved in sports and the arts finally learning involved life's hardships in life
Unfortunately, the pain is not a humanPain is inherent wealth of all mankindTeacher of human suffering produces great prophet had thought and artMy friends, my toast isI wish you had a rough life painYou do not want to be plain sailing
If we smooth sailing friendsWe would not be here togetherWe are not in this encounter filled with the fruit of the wine on the tableIs painful for us to carry this night the atmosphere is full of birthdayIn this table filled with fruitI was sitting in one of a fruit among other fruits
I was one of a fruit in the fall I said: I want to become alcoholI want to become alcohol intoxicated peopleI want to become a lifetime of pain accompany our alcohol
Alcohol is also sufferingWe all immersiveJust gave each person a different glass
    Great man full of pain they happily drinking glasses greater    Happily drinking wine makes a painful life of the wine drunk    Weak for our sick mother worked hard life    To those who loved us or our loved women    For birthday birthday after we started exposure to dead