From the White Cloud Poetry Society. Translation by Jennifer Zeng, rendition in formal verse by Damian Robin

 

With all the trees in shrouds of falling snow,
We move towards the moment of Time’s birth.
My thoughts leap forward with great strength and flow
Within the massive gap of heaven … earth.

Around me, cold East Wind that blows and blows
Much like a song—but who will sing with me?
Dispersing, wafting thoughts are vagrant echoes
Of Zi You gone, returned, now not with me.

I want to ride a donkey, sail the river
To trace plum blossoms at the edge of mind.
My thoughts reach gently, dancing on forever,
They leave the worried world’s concerns behind.

While in the center of this pure white realm,
I could be in the presence of Ku Yi.
Contented, all my thoughts flow with no helm.
All I have is all I need to be.

 

 

Yuan Xi is a poet, columnist, and screenwriter. She was forced to leave China after being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for her belief in Falun Dafa. She currently lives in the United States and writes columns, poetry, commentaries and articles about Chinese history for a number of overseas publications. She also writes TV drama series scripts for New Realms Studios in Canada.

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7 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    Very beautiful and “it goes without saying “, an excellent translation.

    Reply
  2. David Watt

    The translation appears to lose nothing from the original. Powerful and beautiful.

    Reply
  3. C.B. Anderson

    My heart, after reading this, was at peace, and that is no easy task. I’m in no position to judge how faithful the translation is to the original, but I am quite content with the outcome. God knows, we’ve had some snowy days this spring in New England, but nothing much like the bright warmth this poem engenders.

    Reply
  4. Leonard Dabydeen

    A master-craft translation and beautifully structured poem. A delight to read.

    Reply
  5. James Sale

    I don’t know the original but I have to say this seems a superb translation in that it is entirely readable, fluent, structured and beautiful. Really great work. I liked it a lot.

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Zeng

    Dear All,
    Thank you very much for your encouraging comments. I am so honored as the translator; and I feel very happy that Damian and I have been able to convey some of the beauty of the original Chinese poem.
    As Chinese language is very unique and very ancient, it could be very challenging to translate it into English, especially so with classical Chinese poems, which are very rich, concise and highly structured. Sometimes as if one has to write a very long paragraph to fully explain what is contained in perhaps only four Chinese characters.
    The good news is, human emotions are the same when we go beyond the surface languages. I guess that’s the reason why I dare to try to take on this challenging task.
    Another reason is, Yuan Xi is such an outstanding poet. Her achievement in Chinese classical poetry, according to me (and many other Chinese poetry lovers), has surpassed, or at least is no worse, than some of the greatest names in Chinese history. I feel somehow “compelled” to translate some of her poems into English so that more people can enjoy and share the joy that great poetry can bring us.

    By the way, we do have a few more pieces to share if you click here:
    https://www.whitecloudpoetrysociety.org/-english/

    Jennifer

    Reply

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