Autumnal Absences by Fan Zhongyan (989-1052)

To the tune of Sumuzhe (Praying for Heavy Snow)

 

 

A green, cloudy sky; and yellow leaves covering the ground –

               there are even autumn colours in the waves.

Over the waves, there hangs an emerald green mist.

Mountains catch the setting sun; sky and water fuse.

               The fragrant grasses are heartless,

but move further, now, beyond the setting sun.

There’s homesickness and wanderlust.

               When each night comes,

only happy dreams afford me sleep.

With the bright moon, on the balcony, I’m not to be alone!

               The wine poured in my worry-guts

transforms itself to lovesick tears.

 

 

Translated by Julian Farmer with Liang Yujing.

Julian Farmer

Liang Yujing

Julian Farmer is a poet and translator from several languages, especially French, Classical Greek, Latin, Russian and Classical Chinese. His poems and translations have been published in Acumen, Staple, Stand, London MagazineEpiphanySHOp, and Modern Poetry in Translation.

Liang Yujing was born in Changde, China, and completed an MA in American Literature at Wuhan University in 2007. Now a lecturer at Hunan University of Commerce, he writes in both English and Chinese. His poems in English have recently appeared in Tipton Poetry JournalPortland Review OnlineZouch Magazine, and Wasafiri.




Breaking Off in May by Zhang Xian (990-1078)

To the tune of Qianqiusui (A Thousand Autumns Old)

 

 

        The frequent sound of the cuckoo

again proclaims the meadow flowers’ passing.

I enjoyed the spring, so pick its last blooms, even more.

        There’s scant rain and cruel wind,

        while yet the plums remain unripe.

                          The Yongfeng Willow

stands alone all day, its snowflake-catkins flying.

        No plucking of my pipa’s highest string.

I hate it, for it speaks feebly.

Heaven won’t age, which makes love hard to break.

        My heart is like a double silk net

        with thousands of knots at its core.

                          Night is over.

My one lamp, in the eastern window, was put out, at first light.

 

 

Translated by Julian Farmer with Liang Yujing.

Julian Farmer

Liang Yujing

Julian Farmer is a poet and translator from several languages, especially French, Classical Greek, Latin, Russian and Classical Chinese. His poems and translations have been published in Acumen, Staple, Stand, London MagazineEpiphanySHOp, and Modern Poetry in Translation.

Liang Yujing was born in Changde, China, and completed an MA in American Literature at Wuhan University in 2007. Now a lecturer at Hunan University of Commerce, he writes in both English and Chinese. His poems in English have recently appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Portland Review Online, Zouch Magazine, and Wasafiri.




River Song by Li Zhiyi (1035-1117)

To the tune of Busuanzi (Calculating the Future)

 

 

I live at the head of the long Yangtze.

He lives in its furthest reaches.

I think of him, each day, but we never meet.

The drink we share is the Yangtze water.

 

When will these waters come to rest,

or my regrets finally end?

I only hope his heart’s like mine.

Surely, we won’t betray our longings!

 

 

 

Julian Farmer

Translated by Julian Farmer.

Julian Farmer is a poet and translator from several languages, especially French, Classical Greek, Latin, Russian and Classical Chinese. His poems and translations have been published in Acumen, Staple, Stand, London Magazine, Epiphany, SHOp, and Modern Poetry in Translation.