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Falling Snow #2


© 2008
BASID #782

Beth Ames Swartz
Falling Snow #2
acrylic and mixed media on canvas
48" x 60" (1.22m x 1.52m)
2008

杜甫 (Du Fu, also Romanized as Tu Fu, 712770 a.c.e., Chinese)

對雪

Facing the Snow

 

 

戰哭多新鬼

Weeping over battle, many new ghosts,

愁吟獨老翁

In sorrow reciting poems, an old man all alone.

亂雲低薄暮

A tumult of clouds sinks downward in sunset,

急雪舞回風

Hard-pressed, the snow dances in the whirlwinds.

瓢棄樽無綠

Ladle cast down, no green lees1 in the cup,

爐存火似紅

The brazier lingers on, fire seems crimson.

數州消息斷

From several provinces now news has ceased—

愁坐正書空

I sit here in sorrow tracing words in air.

Translation Selected

     Owen, Stephen. The Great Age of Chinese Poetry: the High T’ang. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981, 201, 390-1 (10973).

     1.  lees:   Solids, a result of fermentation, that are found on the bottom of a vat; these solid particles are comprised of grape skins, pulp, and yeast. The Chinese word, liok, means dark green or blue-black, and, as an attribute of wine, it indicates a strong and thick brew. Owen concludes liok probably does not describe the wine liquid at all, but rather the “lees,” known as dark-green ants (liok-ngyĕ).

          Hinton (describing a different Du Fu poem with a similar title that he translates as Facing Snow) explains the Chinese expression, floating-ant wine, interpreted by Owen as green lees as follows: “Expensive wine was fermented in silver jars covered with cloth. In the process, a layer of scum formed on top. When this worthless layer was skimmed off and sold to those who could afford nothing better, it was called floating-ant wine.

 

Other English Translations

     Ayscough, Florence Wheelock and Lowell, Amy, trans. The Autobiography of a Chinese Poet, Vol. I, a.d. 712-759. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1929, 228-9.

     Alley, Rewi, trans. Du Fu: Selected Poems. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1962 (as Tu Fu: Selected Poems), 2001, 68-9.

     Davis, A(lbert) R(ichard). Tu Fu. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1971, 52.

     Rexroth, Kenneth. One Hundred Poems from the Chinese. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1971, IV, 6.

     Seaton, J. P.& Cryer, James, trans. Bright Moon, Perching Birds: Poems. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1971, 1987, 65.

     Wu, Juntao, trans. Tu Fu—a New Translation. Hong Kong: The Commercial Press Ltd, 1981, 54-5.

     Hinton, David. The Selected Poems of Tu Fu. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1988, 1989, 26, 161.

     Hamill, Sam. Crossing the Yellow River: 300 Poems from the Chinese. Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2000, 163. Also, Hamill, Sam and Seaton, J. P., ed. & trans. The Poetry of Zen, Boston & London: Shambhala, 2004, 51. Also, Hamill, Sam, trans. Endless River. New York: Weatherhill, Inc., 1993, 61.

     Barnstone Tony and Chou, Ping, ed. & trans. The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry. New York: Random House, Inc., 2005, 132-3.

     Holyoak, Keith, trans. Facing the Moon: Poems of Li Bai and Du Fu. Durham, NH: Oyster River, 2007, 102-3.

     Dōngbō (東波). Online: http://www.mountainsongs.net/poem_.php?id=199.