火曜日, 4月 05, 2005

Su Shih's Red Cliffs, cont'd.

Note: Su Shih is my favorite Sung Dynasty writer. He's my favorite Chinese writer. That's not saying much, since my reading list back in high school was limited to a few early favorites and trash romance novels. Still, things have been stressful lately, and trying to translate him is very much like assuming his serenity, if only briefly.

Also: stress relief's the goal, not accuracy. :)

Original here.

....

And so we drank our pleasure. Beating the tempo on the skiff's prow, I sang:

The cassia oar and the orchid wood paddle
Strike the empty brightness, traced by light.
Distant is the object of my thoughts--
Gazing at a beautiful woman on the other side of the heavens.

My guest played the long flute, wrapping my song in harmony--the hooting of an owl: like resentment, like admiration...like sobbing, like confession. The winding of its long notes were endless like a bolt of silk: the hidden dragon that dances in gloomy grottoes, the abandoned wife weeping in her lone boat.