The "Three Caos'" poetry

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The "Three Caos'" poetry

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Nov 30, 2002 6:56 pm

It'll be another week before I can post regularly again *sigh*... so to make up for that I'll post some of my translations of RTK-related Chinese poetry. Since I'm neither a very good translator or a poet, any comments are welcome!

To start, here's Cao Cao's description of the events surrounding the anti-Dong Zhuo alliance:

Haoli Xing [this is the name of an ancient tune which has since been lost -- LW]

Gallant men there were, from the Eastern lands,
rallying against the nefarious ones.
At Mengjin, where the last Alliance met,
they vowed
to free the Capital from the evil shroud.

Though their forces were one, their minds,
divided; hesitant they marched
like geese leaderless.
And not long after,
they fought
among themselves; for profit they sought.

(The younger Yuan himself an emperor made,
In the north the other carved a seal of jade.)

When last did armour leave the soldiers’ frames?
Lice and fleas infest the long-worn metal.
From a myriad families people are lost
to untimely death, while
sun-blanched bones lie bare in fields
abandoned, nor a cock-crow heard for a thousand li.
Of a hundred men who live here now,
would even one be left
by the morrow?
That very thought breaks my heart with sorrow.
Last edited by Lady Wu on Mon Nov 03, 2003 9:41 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Nov 30, 2002 7:01 pm

Two poems by Cao Zhi, written during the times when his friends were persecuted by Cao Pi and when he's separated from all those he loved:

[Title Lost]

Two cranes, a pair, did travel afar,
but lost each other by the East Sea’s shore.
The male he fled to the barren north,
while to the south, she, startled, tore.

“Gone are the days of our loving embrace
as we are flung to strange ends of the sky;
Weep not for the miles that hold us apart,
but fear the nets that fall from on high.”

Sparrow in a wild field

Wailing winds assail the tallest trees,
Raging waves betrouble the vast grey seas.
What good is it to have a thousand friends,
If I have not a sharp blade in my hands?


    Lo! A sparrow in the hedges, without a care,
    On spotting a hawk flies straight in a snare.
    The fowler seeing this catch does show delight,
    While a young man near despairs at the sight.
    His sword he draws, the trap he slashes,
    And frees the bird – and out it dashes!
    Flittering and flying, it climbs the heavens in joy,
    Then descends again to thank the kindly boy.
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Nov 30, 2002 7:04 pm

This one many of you have seen before. Cao Zhi wrote this around AD229, after being relocated again and again by Cao Pi and Cao Rui. Another depressing poem.

The Passage of Sighs

Alas! This rolling tumbleweed
Alone in this world – Oh why? Oh why?

      Long have I left my roots and gone
      Resting never, day nor night
      From east to west, from south to north.

      A whirlwind rises, blowing me
      into the clouds, where I thought
      was the ends of Heaven
      But all of a sudden –
      I fall
      deep into an abyss.

      Now I am carried out by a rapid gust.
      If only it takes me back to the fields!

      Southwards I am bound, but it takes me north;
      Supposing it blows to the east, it turns to the west.

      Straying, drifting, with nothing to rely on –
      “Surely I expire,” I say, but my life goes on
      To wander through the hills and plains

      Turning, tumbling, with no place to stay –
      Who would understand my agony, I pray?

May I be grass growing in a forest
To burn when autumn’s flames rage fiercest!
Destroyed by fire – know I not the pain?
I’d rather that, but with my roots remain.
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
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Unread postby Shi Jing Xu » Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:38 am

Very nice, Lady Wu! :D
I'm going to move this to the Art forum.
"As if you could kill time without injuring eternity." ~ Henry David Thoreau
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Unread postby Yuan Seth » Wed Dec 04, 2002 5:12 am

Wow, Lady Wu. That Cao Zhi is such a good poet....
袁 "Since the dawn of time every one will die,
Let the history books note my death with loyalty at heart." --Wen Tianxiang
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Unread postby Wen Choung » Wed Dec 04, 2002 6:18 am

Poetry usually sounds best in its original language. Even though his meanings are deep, the rhythm and melody is just as important. It is too bad we lose that in the translation :( . Great job though!
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Dec 04, 2002 4:48 pm

Wen Choung wrote:Poetry usually sounds best in its original language. Even though his meanings are deep, the rhythm and melody is just as important. It is too bad we lose that in the translation :( . Great job though!

I know... I was torn between keeping the rhyme scheme as it is in the Chinese, and creating something that's passable as an English poem. I've experimented with both, as you can see... the two more straight-forward of Cao Zhi's I tried to render in rhyming verse, with some kind of definable meter, and each line corresponding to a line in the Chinese. For some reason I find that not as satisfying as the other two in free form. Probably too rigid...:roll:
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Dec 04, 2002 6:20 pm

Cao Pi alone of the three Cao's haven't been represented yet, and I'm having difficulties with my favourite poem of his, so I'll post another one, translated by the eminent scholar Authur Waley :D.

This is on the occasion of Cao Cao's death.
========
On the Death of his Father

I look up and see his curtains and bed;
I look down and examine his table and mat.
The things are there just as before;
But the man they belonged to is not there.
His spirit suddenly has taken flight
And left me behind far away.
To whom shall I look, on whom rely?
My tears flow in an endless stream.
"Yu, yu" cry the wandering deer
As they carry fodder to their young in the woods.
Flap, flap fly the birds
As they carry their little ones back to the nest.
I alone am desolate
Dreading the days of our long parting;
My grieving heart's settled pain
No one else can understand.
There is a saying among people
"Sorrow makes us grow old."
Alas, alas for my white hairs!
All too early they have come!
Long wailing, long sighing
My thoughts are fixed on my sage parent.
They say the good live long;
Then why was he not spared?
Last edited by Lady Wu on Thu Dec 05, 2002 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Wed Dec 04, 2002 7:06 pm

I think that a translator's rendition of any work stands on its own as a work of art; therefore, determine what you want to accomplish with a translation, execute it, and tweak it as needed until it represents your vision of the piece. Try several approachs and manipulate the work until you are pleased.

Lady Wu wrote:
Wen Choung wrote:Poetry usually sounds best in its original language. Even though his meanings are deep, the rhythm and melody is just as important. It is too bad we lose that in the translation :( . Great job though!

I know... I was torn between keeping the rhyme scheme as it is in the Chinese, and creating something that's passable as an English poem. I've experimented with both, as you can see... the two more straight-forward of Cao Zhi's I tried to render in rhyming verse, with some kind of definable meter, and each line corresponding to a line in the Chinese. For some reason I find that not as satisfying as the other two in free form. Probably too rigid...:roll:
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Unread postby DianWei » Wed Dec 04, 2002 8:43 pm

Lady Wu wrote:Cao Pi alone of the three Cao's haven't been represented yet, and I'm having difficulties with my favourite poem of his, so I'll post another one, translated by the eminent scholar Authur Waley :D.

This is on the occasion of Cao Cao's death.
========
On the Death of his Father

I look up and see his curtains and bed;
I look down and examine his table and mat.
The things are there just as before;
But the man they belonged to is not there.
His spirit suddenly has taken flight
And left me behind far away.
To whom shall I look, on whom rely?
My tears flow in an endless stream.
"Yu, yu" cry the wandering deer
As they carry fodder to their young in the woods.
Flap, flap fly the birds
As they carry their little ones back to the nest.
I alone am desolate
Dreading the days of our long parting;
My grieving heart's settled pain
No one else can understand.
There is a saying among people
"Sorrow makes us grow old."
Alas, alas for my white hairs!
All too early they have come!
Long wailing, long sighing
My thoughts are fied on my sage parent.
They say the good live long;
Then why was he not spared?


that is so true... Lord Cao was a great man :(... only the good die young (DIAN WEI)
Im in ur vanguard, vanquishin ur d00ds.
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