top of page
Susan Ye Laird, poetry magazine, poetry translations
     with S. Ye Laird

In this March issue,  we have three translations by Paul T.M. Jackson, author of poetry and prose  based in France, two by Ranald Barnicot from U.K.  Two from 'Evening Prayer' by Liang Zongdai, translator  Cheng Sheng & Two from 'Reed Flute Breeze', translated by Prof. Cheng Jiahui.

*The Damselfly* by Victor Hugo

translated by Paul T. M. Jackson

When the golden damselfly,

Dashes away at winter’s touch,

So oft its vibrant attire

And wat’ry wings are ripped off by

The branches of some green bush.

So lively, fragile youth is.

Losing your way in life’s briars,

You dart wherever instinct bids.

And so oft your wings are ripped,

On the thorns of your desires.

*La demoiselle* 


Quand la demoiselle dorée

S’envole au départ des hivers,

Souvent sa robe diaprée,

Souvent son aile est déchirée

Aux mille dards des buissons verts.

Ainsi, jeunesse vive et frêle.

Qui, t’égarant de tous côtés,

Voles où ton instinct t’appelle.

Souvent tu déchires ton aile

Aux épines des voluptés.

*The Morning* by Victor Hugo

Moriturus moriturae!

The morning mists gather on the mountainside.

Yet behold that old tower there basking in light,

And already, up there in the heavens, love unites,

The joyous and glorious astride,

The dawn chorus in the boughs and the dawning sun so bright.


So yes, smile when Heaven is devoured by light! -

For you shall see, when my coffin comes into sight,

A sun as beautiful lighting up the mountainside,

And the same birds singing, on a morn just as bright,

While in darkness, silent, I bide.

But o’er on the next horizon, I’ll be full of delight.

A future without end for a deathless soul.

The morn of forever unfolds,

And we wake once more from life,

As if from some dark night, or from sleep’s tight hold.

*Le Matin*

Moriturus moriturae!

Le voile du matin sur les monts se déploie.

Vois, un rayon naissant blanchit la vieille tour;

Et déjà dans les cieux s'unit avec amour,

Ainsi que la gloire à la joie,

Le premier chant des bois aux premiers feux du jour.

Oui, souris à l'éclat dont le ciel se décore! -

Tu verras, si demain le cercueil me dévore,

Un soleil aussi beau luire à ton désespoir,

Et les mêmes oiseaux chanter la même aurore,

Sur mon tombeau muet et noir!

Mais dans l'autre horizon l'âme alors est ravie.

L'avenir sans fin s'ouvre à l'être illimité.

Au matin de l'éternité

On se réveille de la vie,

Comme d'une nuit sombre ou d'un rêve agité.

*Sensation* by Arthur Rimbaud

On blue, summer evenings, along the lane I’ll go,

Pricked by the wheat, trampling over blades of grass:

Daydreaming, I feel the coolness underneath my soles,

And I bathe my bare head in the breeze as I pass.

I don’t say a word, I think of nothing other than,

That boundless passion welling up deep inside me,

So I go far, very far, a true bohemian,

Through the country, and, as when with a woman, happy.


Par les soirs bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,

Picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue:

Rêveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.

Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien:

Mais l'amour infini me montera dans l'âme,

Et j'irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,

Par la nature, heureux comme avec une femme.

The Girl From Lesbos

(from the Ancient Greek of Anacreon)

translated by  Ranald Barnicot 

Golden-haired love strikes me again

with its purple ball,

calls me out to play with a girl,

her sandals embroidered man-

                                                    y col-

                                                                 -ours,   who, in


of my white hair

               for she’s from Lesbos,

                                                              isle fair

                                                                                          to dwell


                 gawps at another



                                                              -ct in gender

                                                                                       or just hair,

                                  the Greek’s ambiguous.

                                                                 We’ll leave it


Greek Text


Σφαίρηι δηὖτέ με πορφυρῆι

βάλλων χρυσοκόμης Ἔρως

νήνι ποικιλοσαμβάλωι

συμπαίζειν προκαλεῖται·

ἡ δ', ἐστὶν γὰρ ἀπ' εὐκτίτου

Λέσβου, τὴν μὲν ἐμὴν κόμην,

λευκὴ γάρ, καταμέμφεται,

πρὸς δ' ἄλλην τινὰ χάσκει.

Ranald Barnicot has an MA in Classics from Balliol College, Oxford and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Birkbeck College, London. He has worked as a teacher of EFL/ESL in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK. He is now retired and has published or is due to publish many original poems and translations of Catullus, Horace, Verlaine, Mallarmé, Lorca, Vallejo and Violante do Céu and La Compiuta Donzella in  Priapus, Acumen, Poetry Strasbourg Review, Transference, Brooklyn Rail In Translation, Ezra, The Rotary Dial, Sentinel, Poetry Salzburg Review, The French Literary Review, Orbis and Metamorphoses.  And we look forward to his new collection of translations in a book form by Alba Press in early 2019. 

Urn of Sorrow (from the French of Charles Baudelaire)

translated by Ranald Barnicot

I worship you as I worship vaulted night,

O urn of sorrow, great in silence. Your flight

only inflames my love, the more you seem

(gracing night's deprivation in my dream)

ironically to lengthen that small space

stretching up to the sky's vast blue embrace.

I advance to the attack, I climb to the assault,

like a choir of worms upon a corpse. Your fault

of coldness, O implacable cruel beast,

I cherish: it makes the beauty, where my eyes feast.

Je t’adore à l’égal de la voûte nocturne,

Ô vase de tristesse, ô grande taciturne,

Et t’aime d’autant plus, belle, que tu me fuis,

Et que tu me parais, ornement de mes nuits,

Plus ironiquement accumuler les lieues

Qui séparent mes bras des immensités bleues.


Je m’avance à l’attaque, et je grimpe aux assauts,

Comme après un cadavre un chœur de vermisseaux,

Et je chéris, ô bête implacable et cruelle,

Jusqu’à cette froideur par où tu m’es plus belle !

 excerpts from Prof. Cheng Jiahui' s( 程家惠,—)  Introduction to a bilingual poetry manual script still seeking interested publisher ... 

Mr. Liang Zongdai /Liang Chung-Tai/ Liang Tsong-tai (梁宗岱,1903 - 1983),born in Baise, Guangxi, on July14 (lunar calendar ), 1903, was a famous Chinese poet and translator, the best Chinese poetry friend of Romain Rolland and Paul Valery. Liang Zongdai emerged as a well acknowledged poet during the “May 4th Movement” period, who had great achievements both in translation and in poetics. But for a long time after the 1949, he had almost been ignored by the literary world due to some historical reasons and it was not until the 1980s that his poems, his contribution to translation and his poetical theory and criticism were brought under the spotlight again.

Liang’s poem is a natural flow from his heart and blended well with his unique experiences, his sentiments, his philosophy, his ideology and his gift for poetic writing. As a Chinese famous poet, Liang Zongdai had two collections of poems as the representative works of his poetry: the Evening Prayer(written in the 1920s in modern free style with 20 poems) and the Reed Flute Breeze(written in the 1940s in traditional Chinese style with 50poems). 

According to the nature and characteristics of poetry, based on the three principles of Three Beauties (beauty in sense; beauty in sound and beauty in form) in poetry translation advocated by Mr. Xu Yanchong (许渊冲), one of the most distinguished Chinese poetry translators, our translation has taken one more beauty in consideration, namely, the beauty in emotion, which is the top priority for our translation. Liang Zongdai believes that the translator must have emotional echoes with the original poem before applying language skills and artistic style in order to reproduce the original charm of the poem. Besides, three strategies are also applied in the translation: 1) replacing abstract meanings and interpreting profound philosophy or religious inspiration and morals with vivid images; 2) reasonable extending of imagination based on the original; 3) When it comes to the Chinese specific culture, we use foreignization as much as possible to preserve the characteristics, mystery and the power of discourse of the national culture.

Two poems from Liang's free verse collection:

'Evening Prayers' , translator Cheng Sheng





















On a sunny morning,

When I blew my harmonica:


A canary heard it;

Mistaking it for the voice of his partner,

It flew to the shimmering bamboos by the window for a look,

But departed not in the mood.


A black butterfly heard it;

Mistaking it for the hum of bees over a flower,

It flew from the shady bamboo grove by the window,

But danced away in sorrow.


My disappointed friends!

Why am I not your partner then?

Translator, Cheng Sheng ( 程晟,1989— )  a Master of Translation and Interpretation (MTI) and once an English teacher in the Foreign Language College of Guangxi University of Nationalities, China.  


























Nite Owl


“Woo woo, Woo woo,” the sound of a nite owl,

The sound of the curser of human life,

The mournful knells alike,

Awakens me from the nightmare

Of entangled vines with a start in fright.


“Woo woo, Woo woo,” the sound of a nite owl,

Sad and horrific.

Attempts to call back the sick souls of the dying?

To curse the dreams of all beings?

Or to make unreasonable groaning?


“Yi woo, Yi woo,” sounds sad and horrifying.

I am not dying,

How can you call back my soul wandering?

But my dreams inexhaustible,

The illusory dreams of the feeble,

Have all been cursed by you, a spirit of evil.


Take my wandering soul away.

How can I, too

Spare no effort to curse the human life

With “Woo woo, Woo woo”?

Two from Liang's 'Reed Flute Breeze' collection,

in the Chinese classical verse, Jade Tower Love

translator:  Chen Jiahui

玉 楼 春











First tryst in sweet scent of mum,

Your charming smiles ne’er would I forget.

So careless then to that encounter,

How painfully I’m now upset.


Our song of love forever is streaming!

By words for deeper love I’m beset.

Our eyes deploring the fleeting honey days

With grass-like sadness and regret.

Prof. Cheng Jiahui(程家惠,1962—) , an English Professor in the English Department in Youjiang Medical University for Nationalities(右江民族医学院) in Guangxi of China, and also an expert on the poet and translator of his fellow townsman, mainly finished Part One: the Reed Flute Breeze and Part Three: Chinese Sonnets

玉 楼 春











Jade Tower Love



Practicing soaring hard for a race,

I flied almost first to the holy place.

Madly distracted by your charming gaze

Like a tower teetering I almost fell in daze.


Charmed by lofty mountains with flowing water in haze,

Why I bother with worldly gossips spread apace?

Ruined halfway as I might be for you smile of grace,

I would rather sink with no empty fame and false face.

water and tree scape

Archive of Translations

 Feb./18   Jan/18     Dec/17     Nov/17    Oct/17     Sept/17     Aug/17     July/17     June/17     May/17     Apil/17     March/17     Feb./17     Jan./17     Dec./16     Nov./16,    Oct./16

bottom of page