Tao Qian — Returning to Live in the South 3

Returning to Live in the South 3

Tao Qian

365-427 CE
(translated by William P. Coleman)

I sow my beans below the southern hills,
but grass flourishes, while bean seedlings are scarce.
Mornings I rise to clear tangled waste space,
then, under the moon, carry my hoe coming home.
The path is narrow, through tall grass under trees;
its evening dew dampens my clothes.
But wet clothes don’t worry me —
not enough to separate me from my dream.

I found the Chinese text and an English translation of this poem — along with the word-by-word literal translation I used to create this one — at Chinese Poems.

The grammar of Chinese allows poets to leave interpretive choices open, and it’s an unattainable ideal of translating to bring out possibilities without closing others. I try to use my sense of English to at least intrigue you. If I’ve succeeded, it’s best — even if you don’t know Chinese, which I don’t either — to follow up at the source I cite above and see the original word-by-word translation from which I worked. It’ll be richer than what I’ve given you. To understand the poem best, try to construct your own translation.

See the FAQ and the external links at Chinese Poems, a beautiful resource with many poems.


more Chinese poetry translations in this blog More Chinese poetry translations in this blog.
more Chinese poetry translations in this blog Home page for my Tao Qian translations.

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Chinese poetry, Poetry, Tao Qian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s