Monthly Archives: November 2004

ouyang xiu: first in a series

Today’s poem is the first in a series of 10 词 ci lyrics by the Song poet 欧阳修 Ouyang Xiu. The poems in this series have no title other than 采桑子: “[to the tune of] The Mulberry-Picking Boy.” I’ll be posting one poem per day. 欧阳修: 采桑子 (1) 轻舟短棹西湖好 绿水逶迤 芳草长堤 隐隐笙歌处处随 无风水面琉璃滑 不觉船移 微动涟漪 […]

du mu: "tomb-sweeping day"

Today’s poem is a nice short one: “Qingming,” or “Tomb-Sweeping day,” by late Tang Dynasty poet Du Mu (803 – 852). The title refers to the traditional Qingming holiday, on which people would – and still do – go to tend the tombs of their ancestors. A longer poem tomorrow, by Ouyang Xiu. Happy Thanksgiving […]

du fu: the fine lady

Today’s translation is basically a first draft. It’s not poetic, not within any kind of metrical constraints, and really not all that good. Ah well – there’s a long weekend coming up, and I’ll have more time to not suck then. 杜甫:佳人 绝代有佳人,幽居在空谷。 自云良家子,零落依草木。 关中昔丧乱,兄弟遭杀戮。 官高何足论,不得收骨肉。 世情恶衰歇,万事随转烛。 夫婿轻薄儿,新人美如玉。 合昏尚知时,鸳鸯不独宿。 但见新人笑,那闻旧人哭! 在山泉水清,出山泉水浊。 侍婢卖珠回,牵萝补茅屋。 摘花不插发,采柏动盈掬。 天寒翠袖薄,日暮倚修竹。 Du […]

bai juyi: bemoaning my old age (1)

Today’s poem is going up late because of a couple of problems I had with the translation. These problems were exacerbated by the fact that it’s apparently pretty a obscure poem: I happened upon it in my copy of 白居易集 The Collected Works of Bai Juyi, which has no explanatory annotations, and searches online and […]

li bai: "drinking alone in the moonlight"

UPDATE – The poem for today, the first of Bai Juyi’s “Bemoaning My Old Age: Three Poems” (叹老三首), will be up later this afternoon; my translation is done, but I need to check one of the lines. In the meantime, look at the comments for this poem, where Oli and Kun quite rightly point out […]

li bai: "bring in the wine!"

Today’s poem, “Bring in the Wine!” by famous Tang drunkard and poet Li Bai, was a real bitch to translate. For one thing, it’s written in an irregular form with varying line-lengths and a looser rhyme scheme than usual. For another, some of the vocabulary strikes me as weird – specifically, the repeated use of […]

poem of the day

I haven’t had much at all to write about lately, and so rather than let this space die, I’ve decided to focus, until I have an interesting life again, on posting translations. Translating longer stuff tends to bog me down, even when I really like whatever it is that I’m translating. (See, for example, the […]