|I read today that it's the poet Gary Snyder's birthday. I read a lot of Gary Snyder in college, not only because I loved his work but also because he was a Zen Buddhist and translated Chinese poetry. Back in those carefree days, I studied Mandarin Chinese, not because I thought it would help me to get a good job but because I loved Chinese poetry and thought that I'd learn the language and read it in the original. I have one more thing to say about that aspiration:|
So, happy birthday to Gary Snyder and in honor of old aspirations and Chinese poets, here are three translations of one poem by Meng Hao-jan.
Night on the Great River [three translations]
|by Meng Hao-jan |
Steering my little boat towards a misty islet, I watch the sun descend while my sorrows grow: In the vast night the sky hangs lower than the treetops, But in the blue lake the moon is coming close. [translated by William Carlos Williams] (II) Night on the Great River We anchor the boat alongside a hazy island. As the sun sets I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. The plain stretches away without limit. The sky is just above the tree tops. The river flows quietly by. The moon comes down amongst men. [translated by Kenneth Rexroth] (III) Mooring on Chien-te River The boat rocks at anchor by the misty island Sunset, my loneliness comes again. In these vast wilds the sky arches down to the trees. In the clear river water, the moon draws near. [translated by Gary Snyder]