New Translations of Tang Dynasty Poetry by Evan Mantyk and Chunlin Li The Society May 17, 2014 Beauty, For Educators 2 Comments 登金陵鳳凰台 李白 鳳凰台上鳳凰遊，鳳去台空江自流。 吳宮花草埋幽徑，晉代衣冠成故丘。 三山半落青天外，一水中分白鷺洲。 總為浮雲能蔽日，長安不見使人愁。 Ascending the Phoenix Terrace in Jinling By Li Bai Phoenix roamed here four hundred years ago, A sign of the enchantment that once thrived; Such emptiness now, no more feathers flow, A lonely river is all that’s survived. The lush garden of the grand Wu Palace Is buried there beneath some nameless brush; What’s left of the Jin court’s elegance? Just those mounds of ancient decomposed mush! The Three Mountains disappear into sky, Aloof and azure, from whence egrets dive To a remote river isle, safe and dry, Two streams of the Yangtze onward strive. My mind drifts to Chang’an, so far from here And the Emperor whose fate is unclear; I’ve heard dark clouds obscure his brilliant sky; I wish, to his aid, a phoenix would fly. An ancient painting of Chinese poet Li Bai. 黃鶴樓 崔顥 昔人已乘黃鶴去，此地空餘黃鶴樓。 黃鶴一去不復返，白雲千載空悠悠。 晴川歷歷漢陽樹，芳草萋萋鸚鵡洲。 日暮鄉關何處是，煙波江上使人愁。 Yellow Crane Tower By Cui Hao A Taoist immortal once left this place, Riding on the back of a yellow crane. Lighter than the air, he left not a trace; Only Yellow Crane Tower does remain. The yellow crane, once gone, never returned; One thousand years have flown by without wings. The listless clouds for company have yearned, But it’s something empty sky never brings. Sunshine illumines the trees to the north Of the Han River’s crystalline water. From the verdant grass, sweet fragrance pours forth As parrots on river islands gather. Shadows from below creep up the tower; I’ve no crane to ride at this late hour; Which way leads to my home? I do not know, O, misty river, I’ve so far to go! “Yellow Crane Tower” by anonymous, circa Ming Dynasty. Evan Mantyk is a poet and English teacher living in New York. Chunlin Li is a professor living in New York. Related Post ‘When I Speak of History’ by Leonard Dabydeen When I speak of history I speak well; I leave behind the past where broken bones Lay scattered on blistering sands to tell Of atrocities that are m... Tell the world:FacebookTwitterTumblrPinterestRedditLinkedInEmail 2 Responses Shari J LeKane-Yentumi May 17, 2014 Simply beautiful poetry, and beautifully translated, true to the original intent. Marvellous renditions! Reply Li "Web Crease" Du June 8, 2014 No Phoenix No phoenix frolicked on the Terrace at Jinling, when there Li Bai had been exiled from Chang’an. Now in the southern capital out east, Nanjing, where Sun’s bright rays, were raised to peace out west, Xi’an, Wu Palace is replaced by splendid, built-up sites, if not as gorgeous as the towers of Hong Kong, still beautiful to see, so scintillating, bright; although I’ve heard dark clouds obscure their brilliant skies. My mind drifts out to space. Once T’ang was bathed in light. Here wild geese above the climbing buildings fly, as yellow cranes are busy flapping metal wings. One thousand years the aimless clouds go by. Good bye. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.