Tuesday, July 21, 2015



Po Chü-i (772-846), "Pine Sounds" (tr. Burton Watson):
The moonlight is good, good for solitary sitting;
there's a pair of pine trees in front of my roof.
From the southwest a faint breeze comes,
stealing in among the branches and leaves,
making a sad and sighing sound,
at midnight here in the bright moon's presence,
like the rustle, rustle of rain on cold hills,
or the clear clean note of autumn lute strings.
One hearing and the fierce heat is washed away,
a second hearing wipes out worry and gloom.
I stay up all evening, never sleeping,
till mind and body are both wiped clean.
On the avenue to the south, horses and carriages pass;
from neighbors to the west, frequent songs and flutes—
who'd suppose that here under the eaves
the sounds that fill my ears are in no way noisy.
The same, translator unknown:
I like sitting alone when the moon is shining,
And there are two pines standing before the verandah;
A breeze comes from the south-west,
Creeping into the branches and leaves.
Under the brilliant moon at midnight
It whistles a cool, distant music,
Like rustling rains in empty mountains
And the serene harp-strings in the fall.
On first hearing them, the heat of summer is washed away:
And this suffocating boredom comes to an end.
So I keep awake the whole night,
Both the heart and body becoming clear.
Along the south street coaches and horses are stirring,
In the west city sounds of playing and singing.
Who knows that under the roof-trees of this place
The ears are full, but not with noise.
The same, tr. David Hinton (should cystalline in line 8 be crystalline?):
The moon's beautiful, and sitting alone
beautiful. In two pines near the porch,

a breeze arrives from the southwest,
stealing into the branches and leaves,

swelling such isolate silence into sound
past midnight under a brilliant moon:

a cold mountain rain whispering far,
a cystalline ch'in pitched autumn pure.

I hear it rinsing summer heat clean,
clearing the confusion twilight darkens,

and by the end of a night without sleep,
body and mind are so light and quick.

Horses and carts soon crowd the road,
neighbors start their raucous flutesong.

Who'd believe it—here under the eaves,
ears so full and no trace of such racket?
Chinese here (I can't vouch for the accuracy).

Related post: Forest Murmurs.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?