Susan Ye Laird, poetry magazine, poetry translations
 Translations
     with S. Ye Laird

" Night of summer, growing like oppressed new bamboo shoots, fragile body  with thick knuckles, in a blink of eye, breaks through into glowing light   " 夏日之夜,有如苦竹,竹细节密,顷刻之间,随即天明 "

 

"The literature of the world has exerted its power by being translated."           -----    Mark Van Doren ( 1894 - 1972)

Eileen  Chang:  Verse and Chitchat

-- an excerpt translated by S. Ye.  @July 2017

 

Summer days sizzling up one after another, stunningly bright, a thread

so thin, almost on the verge of broken apart, yet being patched up by singularly persisting chirping of cicadas, ' yes la, yes la, yes la, la...'

This month, due to illness, having no need for ordering take-outs and

spending bus fares, I find myself suddenly well off a bit. Although my

illness wasn't that of fashionable type, I had stomach run and painfully rolling and cursing to and fro on the bamboo mat.

Since it was a hot summer, imprisoned at home, can't do much of anything else, except composing an article about Cezanne's painting, about books I've read, about religious belief among Chinese people, somehow a redemptive surge shaped up. I decided that this is going to be my month of high spirited indulgence. Hence without much ado on this single minded note, I shall chitchat on verse and poets.

Mr. Zhou, 'a sentimental poet', the younger brother of another 'upright gent', has translated this famous verse from Japanese into Chinese:  “夏日之夜,有如苦竹,竹细节密,顷刻之间,随即天明。” I asked my aunt to take a look. My aunt often chats in her typical 'believing lightly on learned scholarly rudimentary' ways. After first reading, she said that it made little sense to her. Then she pondered for a while, adding: "Since this piece is considered a classic, there must be something in it, you think? But we can't know for sure, can we? Once a scholar is well looked after by established fame, he gained his right to eight different takes on any ridiculous point of view.

( To be continued...)

Translator would  like to dedicate this translation-in-progress to my mother-in-law Heidi, sister-in-law Holly B., and cousin Sage.  Month of July is a most celebrated month all due to these three ladies of extraordinaire, their reflective  & wicked wry in all manifested grace and cheer. 

张爱玲:诗与胡说

夏天的日子一连串烧下去,雪亮,绝细的一根线,烧得要断了,又给细的蝉声连了起来,“吱呀,吱呀,吱……”

 

  这一个月,因为生病,省掉了许多饭菜、车钱,因此突然觉富裕起来。虽然生的是毫无风致的病,肚子疼得哼哼唧唧在席子上滚来滚去,但在夏天,闲在家里,万事不能做,单只写篇文章关于Cézanne的画,关于看过的书,关于中国人的宗教,到底是风雅的。我决定这是我的“风雅之月”,所以索性高尚一下,谈起诗来了。

 

 

  周作人翻译的有一著名的日本诗:“夏日之夜,有如苦竹,竹细节密,顷刻之间,随即天明。”我劝我姑姑看一遍,我姑姑是“轻性知识分子”的典型,她看过之后,摇摇头说不懂,随即又寻思,说:“既然这么出名想必总有点什么东西吧?可是也说不定。一个人出名到某一个程度,就有权利胡说八道。”

        我想起路易士。第一次看见他的诗,是在杂志的“海月文摘”里的《散步的鱼》,那倒不是胡话,不过太做作了一点,小报上逐日笑他的时候,我也跟着笑,笑了许多天。在这些事上,我比小报还要全无心肝,譬如上次,听见说顾明道死了,我非常高兴,理由很简单,因为他的小说写得不好。其实我又不认识他,而且如果认识,想必也有理由敬重他,因为他是这样的一个模范文人,历尽往古来今一切文人的苦难。而且他已经过世了,我现在来说这样的话,太岂有此理,但是我不由的想起《明日天涯》在《新闻报》上连载的时候,我非常讨厌里面的前进青年孙家光和他资助求学的小姑娘梅月珠,每次他到她家去,她母亲总要大鱼大肉请他吃饭表示谢意,添菜的费用超过学费不知多少倍。梅太太向孙家光叙述她先夫的操行与不幸的际遇,报上一天一段,足足叙述了两个礼拜之久,然而我不得不读下去,纯粹因为它是一天一天分载的,有一种最不耐烦的吸引力。我有个表姐,也是看《新闻报》的,我们一见面就骂《明日天涯》,一面叽咕一面往下看。

"Lucia, We Know Not"

by Candy Marie, originally posted on 'Poetry War Zone'

on July 14th, 2017.


The Battle lines are drawn,
The gales of change are a front.
A poetess under house arrest,

All over a Noble prize?

 

Meanwhile, the masks stay on,
One, a mask to cover scars,
Another, a mask to give life,
The third, a mask to deceive all.

 

A man stands at a podium,
He speaks on unity,
He talks about how perfect it is,
But his podium is crumbling.

 

Where can we stand?
What happens when peace binds you?
How does that even make sense?
Was not peace to be a Poet's mainstay?

How Long the Night

anonymous Old English Lyric, circa early 13th century AD

 

- loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts

with the mild pheasants' song ...

but now I feel the northern wind's blast; 

its severe weather strong.

Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!

And I, because of my momentous wrong

now grieve, mourn and fast.

Michael R. Burch - overlord at www.thehypertexts.com ;  a regular contributor to gardening next door with our muse Vera. This is his first gimmick in translation picked up by anonymous new fan...

unrelated booknote:  Winter 2018 sneak peek from graywolfpress

Sympathy  

by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!

     When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;

When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,

And the river flows like a stream of glass;

   When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,

And the faint perfume from its chalice steals -

I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing

   Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;

For he must fly back to his perch and cling

When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;

   And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars

And they pulse again with a keener sting -

I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,

   When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore, -

When he beats his bars and he would be free;

It is not a carol of joy or glee,

  But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,

But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings -

I know why the caged bird sings!

SONNET 21

So is not with me as with that Muse,

Stirr'd by a painted beauty to his verse,

Who heaven itself for ornament doth use

And every fair with his fair doth rehearse,

Making a couplement of proud compare,

With sun and moon, with earth and sea's rich gems.

With April's first-born flowers, and all things rare

That heaven's air in this huge rondure hems.

O, let me true in love, but truly write,

And then believe me, my love is as fair

As any mother's child, though not so bright

As those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air.

Let them say more that like of hearsay well;

I will not praise that purpose not to sell.

(Shakespeare)

《十四行诗集》第21首

我的诗神①并不像那一位持神

只知运用脂粉涂抹他的诗句,

连苍穹也要搬下来作妆饰品,

罗列每个佳丽去称赞他的佳丽,

用种种浮夸的比喻作成对偶,

把他之太阳、月亮、海陆的瑰宝,

四月的鲜花,和这浩荡的宇宙

蕴藏在它的怀里的一切奇妙。

哦,让我既真心爱,就真心歌唱,

而且,相信我,我的爱可以媲美

任何妈妈的儿子,虽然论明亮

比不上挂在天空的金色烛台。

谁喜欢空话,让他尽说个不穷;

我志不在出售,自用不着祷颂。

见《梁宗岱译诗集》,第107页,湖南人民出版社,1983年版。 ①(原译注)诗神:即诗人,下面用男性代词"他"字。

涂寿鹏编著 , 《英文诗歌导读》 , 第38页

This is a classical translation done by the late Poet/translator Liang Zhongdai ( 1903 - 1983), which we first featured on our Feb. issue. Our poets revisited us in good spirit after 6 months of roaming under the sun.

Summer in the City

Doves of peace shit a bit and fly off,

the sun a bull's-eye

overhead

and yet people still

stroke each other's skin, apply

word bandages, move from home to heart

or into other people,

because the eyes around us are gunfire sockets,

the reptilian brain already shooting,

and yet in the middle of all this,

people still give massages,

smear oil, roll joints

for other people

crowded into second-rate groups

to bake wafers for the moon, to listen to

what's up,

more and more people move

from home to heart or into other people,

excellent in emergencies,

they manage to pass through the darkness under covers

reading the Braille of each other's skin with their fingertips

whispering my wife my husband my beloved

and if you should ask me how I'm doing,

you'll feel as though you just shot a bird.

Wax Flowers

                 To my parents, of blessed memory

I don't know you

to tell the truth

you don't know me either.

I see barbed wire rusting in your eyes

in the evening when your soul hollows

opposite the television console,

in your arms a small tuna salad

together with dry toast.

but your mother tongue is not my mother tongue

so we prefer to take a walk:

walking is better than sitting,

sitting is better than lying down,

lying down is better than sleeping

and we walk,

your arm linked in mine,

and we play

"once upon a time"

that I was your mother

and now you are mine.

Agi Mishol, was born in 1947 in Hungary to Holocaust survivors and grew up in Israel. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, and the winner of numerous national awards including Yehuda Amichai Poetry Prize, in 2002.

Lisa Katz is a poet, translator, and scholar. She teaches at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

These two poems were published in "Look There" ( 2006) by Graywolf Press - a Lannan Translation Series Selection.

梁宗岱十四行中文诗(六首)英译

 

 

幸福来了又去;像传说的仙人,

他有时扮作肮脏褴褛的乞丐,

瘦骨嶙峋,向求仙者俯伏叩拜,――

看凡眼能否从卑贱认出真身;

 

又仿佛古代赫赫的至尊出巡,

为要戒备暴徒们意外的侵害,

簇拥着旌旗和车乘如云如海,

使人辨不清谁是侍卫谁是君。

 

但今天,你这般自然,这般妩媚,

来到我的身边,我光艳的女郎,

从你那清晨一般澄朗的眸光,

 

和那嘹亮的欢笑,我毫不犹豫

认出他底灵光,我惭愧又惊惶,――

看,我眼中已涌出感恩的热泪!

English translation of  a Chinese Sonnet

by Liang Zongdai(1903 - 1983)

Translator: Prof. Cheng Jiahui,

reviewed/edited by Dr. Li , Dr. Jim Sutton, Mr. Colin James III

Bliss comes like an immortal in fable,
Disguised as a skinny beggar in rags,
Kowtows to prayers for blessing on crags
And sees who can tell him from the humble.

He tours as an exalted ancient king, 
With countless flags and carriages like clouds
Against sudden attacks by mobs in shrouds,
So none can see him in any guarded ring. 

But today so natural and charming,
To me you come, my beautiful maiden,
And in your clear and bright eyes as the morning.
 
And in your laugh, without hesitation, 
Abashed and stunned, I spot his Emmanuel brightness. 
Behold, my eyes shed tears of devotion!

What St. Basil Said.

Hunger is worst of all.  Hunger is pain—
the worst of miseries, the worst of deaths.
A knife kills quickly; famine kills you slow—
a long & endless martyrdom that drains
a body’s heat & shrivels up its breath,
till muscle, flesh & even color go.
Your bones stick to your body.  Tawdry skin
begins to chafe like leather.  Black & dry,
like chestnuts in their sockets, eyes lie still
& useless in their caverns.  Ás it spins,
your stomach hollows, cramps against your spine.
Your knees won’t hold you up.  Your words go shrill.
        What kind of Hell awaits the well-heeled man
        who walks in silence past an upraised hand?

Translated from St. Basil's Epistles (In Famen 69 C.) by Dr. Jim Sutton. It's a literal translation, word for word, but translated into English, it fell into a perfect sonnet without effort. Serendipity, or a miracle.

Love after Love

by Derek Walcott

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

 

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

 

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life. 

爱后之爱

Translator Eva Zhang,

originally posted on LinkedIn

这一刻总会到来

彼时,你会满心欢喜地

迎接你自己,

到你的门前,在你的镜中

你对自己微笑致意

 

然后说---坐吧,请尽情享用

你会再次爱上这个曾是自己的陌生人

斟上酒,递上面包,把你的心还给它自己

还给这个爱你的陌生人

 

这个爱你终生的陌生人,因他人而被你忽视的

陌生人,却最了解你

从书架上拿下来吧----你的情书

你的照片,书写着绝望的便签

揭去镜中的表象

坐吧,尽情享用你的一生

Archive of Translations

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Copyright  Better Than Starbucks 2017, a poetry magazine    

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