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The Moon Stil Rises (Parsat's Writings and Translations)

Posted Jun 23, '09 at 1:32am

Parsat

Parsat

2,224 posts

Since portfolios are a tradition around here, I guess I'll start this one of my own.

One of my hobbies is reading and translating Ancient Chinese poetry. There's a major challenge in that classical Chinese may take only 3-5 characters to express a major idea. Therefore, in Chinese what is meant and interpreted is much more important than what is actually written. It's this challenge that has sustained the memory of these poems for so long.

Feelings on Watching the Moon
Bai Juyi

Hard times and famine render fields bare,
And my brothers have scattered everywhere.
Those gardens few by war were razed,
My kin wander on beaten roads, dazed
Like forsaken geese, by shadows only are we bound,
Or like the tree, by September's gust uprooted from the ground.
We see the same moon, and hot tears run;
With our prayers for home five places become one.

 

Posted Jun 23, '09 at 1:40am

Strop

Strop

11,089 posts

Moderator

Not only that, but you're also forming meter and verse with the translation. That's an ambitious pursuit.

 

Posted Jun 23, '09 at 1:55am

thisisnotanalt

thisisnotanalt

10,086 posts

It's an interesting hobby. And like Strop said, the translation must be difficult - forming the meter and verse from a syntactical language from a symbolic one, when there are grammar differences and other ones. But I like the result.

 

Posted Jun 23, '09 at 11:12am

nichodemus

nichodemus

13,648 posts

Knight

Well Parsat....just a request. Can I have the Chinese poem before translation? Or if you can't, Han Yu Pin Yin will do.
Just post a link in my profile.

only 3-5 characters to express a major idea


Agreed, it drives me nuts sometimes.
Especially when my teacher insists we memorise them and then recite it >_>
----------
OMG, that's my fav Chinese poem ^^ Though it sounds much better in the original Chinese form...Bai Juyi is really a master ^^

grammar differences

In Chinese, there is actually NO gramamr ^^
 

Posted Jun 23, '09 at 5:14pm

Parsat

Parsat

2,224 posts

You mean punctuation. Every language must have some sort of grammatical order, but classical Chinese didn't have punctuation.

This following poem is probably the most well-known poem of the Tang Dynasty.

Thoughts in the Night
Li Bai

Before my bed the moonbeams bound
Across the floor as white as frost.
I look up to the moon, so full and round,
But look down as I think of my hometown lost.

 

Posted Jun 24, '09 at 2:27am

Parsat

Parsat

2,224 posts

The Deer Enclosure
Wang Wei

In mountains bare, I saw no one,
But the voice of man I heard across.
Through thick forests pierce the sun,
Its rays landing on green moss.

 

Posted Jun 24, '09 at 3:46am

nichodemus

nichodemus

13,648 posts

Knight

Li Bai ^^

True master, great poet...He's got ten-fold the literacy abilities of Shakespeare and Dickens put together. ^^

Pity AG doesn't do Chinese characters....well yes you CAN do Han Yu Pin Yin, but it's screwed when you can't type in the symbols for pronounciation....

Nice Example:

Cao. Would it mean noisy? Or intercourse without the appropriate accompanying symbols ^^

 

Posted Jun 24, '09 at 11:43am

Parsat

Parsat

2,224 posts

Noisy is Chao; the curse word is Cao. As for the Hanyu Pinyin, it all depends on the context then.

This one is another famous one by Li Bai. In the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Chow Yun-Fat's character recites some of this poem in Cantonese.

Moon of the Mountain Pass
Li Bai

The moon rises over peak and to the sky
Past the horizon, to the limits of the eye;
The wind, nomad of miles ten thousand,
Beats Jade Pass where the fort defends.
Chinese soldiers hike down Baideng Way,
As barbarians peek over, gazing at the bay.
Not one army in the history of man
Returned with all the men that it began.
The soldiers look towards the borderline
Bitterly wishing for home, that they might resign,
And thinking of those in high pavilions lying
Without rest, tossing and turning, sighing and crying.

 

Posted Jun 24, '09 at 11:46am

nichodemus

nichodemus

13,648 posts

Knight

Noisy is Chao; the curse word is Cao.


Either way...I fail at Han Yu Pin Yin.
 

Posted Jun 24, '09 at 12:46pm

Parsat

Parsat

2,224 posts

Nich: Is your family from the mainland or from Taiwan, out of curiosity?

 
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