西思翎、田海燕 : 徐玉诺的《春天》、《紫罗兰与蜜蜂》英译 | 诗歌翻译专栏 | 诗生活网 - 送体验金的网址



Xu Yunuo: "Spring", "The Violet and the Bee"

Translation by Jan Laurens Siesling
杨·劳伦斯·西思翎 译

We repost here the free translation of these two spring-poems, first posted in Air Keyboard on the 8th of February, 2017, as a form of announcement of the full translation, to be finished this summer, of Xu Yunuo’s two most well-known books: The Sea Gull and The Future Garden.   





On a sapling in the field
Little birds are singing:
“Spring has come back to the world
Little birds are singing!”

“Pink and red and budding all,
The peonies are big and tall.
While the cherry tree is small,
Sweet its fruits will be and yellow.”

Grasses grow on the meadow’s side,
Swinging to the wind of spring,
Tiny faces moving with the tide,
Raising voices and they sing:

“Drink our dew, most gentle breeze,
There is more than you can tell;
Blow into our dresses, please,
Does it make them shine and swell!”

Riding on his buffalo
A young boy beats the beat
On his thighs and he sings too,
So romantic in the heat:

“We need a dive, we need to bathe,
We are a perfect team.
My buffalo can drink and graze,
It’s time for her to swim.”

“I see there is a shallow lake
For us to have a bath in.
The water is cool, for freshness sake
I will not stop my singing.”

"Lo!" said a thinker, walking by
With zero goal but his despair.
"Where do we go, cried he, and why?"
Both hands in his neglected hair.

He watched the boy, the meadow and
The birds, and then his heart knew better.
“Can peace be an illusion, though
These spring things really matter?”

A jaded poet passed in tears, but here
His fingers cleared them and the wrinkles
Of his forehead broke and cheered:
The vision of pure beauty made him twinkle.

Xu Yunuo, April 5, 1922
Translation by Jan Laurens Siesling, February 6, 2017


呢呢,呢呢 ……
------ 唱着,把牛赶进浅湖里。
慈祥的,端详着小孩子,小鸟,小草 ……
仿佛这 …… 告他说虚幻的平安。


The Violet and the Bee

Violet was a violet and the sun was warm,
Bee was a bee far away from his swarm,
Flying so slow and so utterly lazy,
Trembling Violet got with joy a bit crazy,
In for a flirt, her color could show it,
Her perfume, the spring air would blow it.
“My dear, my bee, my honey, come near,
I need your sweet kisses, I’m waiting here.”
She said it out loud, it was foolish, however
The bee just flew off, as if an endeavor
She wasn’t worth, and he spoke in the tone
Of a slug in the sand or a snail on a stone:
“I’m here to work, honey, on honey you know,
Tonight two legs full of pollen I owe.”
How chastely Violet smiled, smiled encore,
Her odors invested the air even more.
“I know you young guys, you act the same.
Your heart is dry, and worried your brain,
Cold like crude iron, but the fault is not you.
You need tender warm cuddles, wet ones too.
Come closer, my lovely and lively bee,
Do what you want, but do it to me.
Fly over me, beauty, you don’t want to miss
An occasion to practice on me a deep kiss.”
When thus she spoke, her petals spoke too,
Followed by tears that trickled down, blue.
But Bee was as cold as a bee can be,
Keen, to his queen, on responsibility.
His job was his life, who wants to lose that?
Not for a kiss, not even with Violet.
“Goodbye girl, he said, time is running,
Work waits for me, cut short your cunning.”
Violet heard this and she did her best
To cut short her smile, but not her quest.
More like a prayer sounded her voice
When she offered Bee a last choice.
“Don’t run away, I might have what you need,
Honey for you, slow down! Or rather speed!
Speed up and put your mouth in mine,
Deep in there you will find my wine.”
“Sorry for now Violet! If you don’t mind,
I’m after flowers of another kind,
Old fashioned and useful, not sweet
Like you, but bitter barley and brown buckwheat.”
Such was the humble bee’s mumbling, before
He took off to blue heaven’s shore.
Violet was alone and she calmed down
Bowing her face, not showing her frown,
When she wondered how there could be
A bee unwilling to be with her to bee.
But wondering she smiled and smelt even more,
Telling the world what her beauty was for.

Xu Yunuo, April 5, 1922
Translation by Jan Laurens Siesling, February 6, 2017


“不!…… 我要找野菜花去,我要找巧麦去 …… ”
紫罗兰慢慢的低下头来,沉沉寻思 ……


Note on this translation.

  On April 5th, 1922, Xu Yunuo wrote two poems about spring. Almost one century later, in spring, I propose a translation in English.

  Should I, instead of translation, more correctly use the word transcription?  Musicians use it when they arrange a piece for a different instrument than it was originally written for. My versions of the two Xu Yunuo poems are not literal translations; some may think they are not sufficiently literal. But I believe they are true to the original. I believe my arrangement was able to maintain the spirit of the poems, while sacrificing to the letter. I believe the essence of a poem is its spirit.

  How much of the spirit of a poem is in the mere letters and words? This is a problem with all translations, and a headache for translators. Some would argue it is in the words, period. I would suggest it is between the words, between the lines. In translations from the Chinese (into Western languages) the question is pressing. This is why: The true and ultimate justification for translating poetry is to transmit the poetic quality (or essence) of a poem. I would be pretentious if I, a European, boasted I am able to capture the poetic essence of Chinese poetry. Still the goal of my reading poetry is exactly that. Also, with more obstacles in the way, it is the goal of my translating. My understanding of poetic quality, however, is determined by the language I am born in, or by the ones I am very familiar with. Poetic quality and the spirit, I mentioned above, are probably close cousins. The spirit, I supposed, dwells between the words. And so I fill the space between the words of the foreign language poem with what goes for poetic quality in my own language. I can’t help doing it; it is part of my chemistry. But I think it is only in this way I can serve readers of the poem in its new language (my language). If I do well, I may even hope to do a service to the poem, and to whoever reads it in its original language. Let me move now to the transcription of the two poems that provoked these thoughts.

  Xu Yunuo is a revolutionary writer of the early 20th century. Presented as a naive poet, a Douanier Rousseau of China, he ignores the strict rules of structure that had dominated Chinese verse since long. He communicates pure inspiration and delivers it in a spontaneous form, leaving an impression of liberation. To achieve this, he introduced a few typical elements of (Romantic) Western poetics into his writing. Between them are narration, simple and every day vocabulary, melodious language and symbolism. (It is interesting to see that in the same period prominent Western writers introduced Chinese notions of poetic quality, or what they thought it was, in their work, also under the banner of liberation.) Those elements were the principle features that struck me, when I discovered the two spring poems of 1922. To make an interesting and faithful transcription I stressed these features, and developed them here or there. I chose therefore an English rhythm, meter and rhyme, using them without academic rigor, but consistently, as verse would have been in England in 1922. I wanted it to be pleasant, not deprived of naive humor or even linguistic oddities (so English!). To catch its candid mood was a must, as well as its latent symbolism. In so doing I lost some of the elliptical qualities of the Chinese form, sometimes with regret. But it was at that price that I saved for the English reader the joy that inhabits the poems, as their soul. This joy celebrates not only the coming of spring, but the dawn of a new poetic era, and beyond that the dawn of a new society.

  February 6, 2017

徐玉诺的两首诗 - 关于翻译的注解


  更确切些,我还是用“改写”, 而不是“翻译” 这个词吧。当音乐家为了另一种乐器去改写一首乐曲时,他们用这个词。我的版本的这两首徐玉诺的诗不是字面的翻译;有人可能认为它们不够字面。但我相信它们是忠实于原作的。虽然牺牲了一些字面的东西,我相信我的改写能够保持原诗的精神。我相信一首诗的本质是它的精神。

  诗的精神有多少是在纯粹的字母和词语里?这是所有翻译面对的问题,一个令译者头痛的问题。有人会认为它在词语里,就是这样。我想提议说它是在词语之间,诗行之间。在中文(到西方语言)的翻译中,这个问题是刻不容缓的。为什么呢?翻译诗歌的真正和最终的理由是传达诗的诗意质量(或本质)。如果我,一个欧洲人,自诩能够捕捉到送体验金的网址诗歌的诗意本质,那么我是自命不凡。不过我读诗的目的正是要捕捉诗意的本质; 这也是我翻译的目的,途中自然经历更多的障碍。然而,我对诗意质量的理解是由我本土的语言或者我非常熟悉的语言决定的。我上边提到的诗意质量和精神可能是亲密的表兄弟。我觉得精神居于词语之间。所以我用代表诗意质量的我自己的语言去填了外语诗的词语之间的空隙。我忍不住这么做,这是我的性格的部分。但我认为只有这种方式,我能够用新语言(我的语言)服务诗的读者。如果我做得好,我甚至希望服务那首诗,和用原本的语言读诗的人。让我们现在去看看激发了这些想法的那两首诗的改写。

  徐玉诺是一位20世纪初的革命的作家。作为一个天真的诗人,送体验金的网址的Douanier Rousseau,他略去长期以来主导送体验金的网址诗歌的严格的结构规则。他交流着纯粹的灵感,以自发的形式表现它,给人留下自由的印象。为了实现这一点,他的作品中引入了一些(浪漫)西方诗学的典型元素。在他们中间有叙述,简单的每一天的词汇,音乐性的语言和象征手法。(有趣的是,在同一时期,著名的西方作家们在他们的作品中,也在自由的旗帜下,引入了送体验金的网址诗意质量的概念,或者他们认为是诗意质量的概念。)当我发现写于1922年的这两首春天的诗,那些元素作为诗的主要特征触击到我。为了做到有趣和忠实的改写我强调了这些特征,并在这里或那里发展了它们。我因此选择了一个英语节奏韵律,不求学术严谨地使用他们,却是连贯地,诗句更象是1922年的英国风格。我想要它是愉快的,不失天真的幽默或者语言的奇异(所以英国的!)。抓住它的坦率的情绪是必须的,还有它的潜在的象征。这么做,有时遗憾我失去了一些送体验金的网址形式的椭圆特质。但正是在这个代价下,为英语读者我保存了居于这两首诗中的喜悦,这喜悦就是诗的灵魂。这个喜悦不仅庆祝春天的到来,还庆祝新诗时代的黎明,之外,一个新社会的黎明。



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