《燕詩示劉叟》 (唐)白居易

《燕詩示劉叟》                                   (唐)白居易

梁上有雙燕   翩翩雄與雌   銜泥兩椽間   一巢生四兒
四兒日夜長   索食聲孜孜   青蟲不易捕   黃口無飽期
觜爪雖欲敝   心力不知疲   須臾十來往   猶恐巢中饑
辛勤三十日   母瘦雛漸肥   喃喃教言語   一一刷毛衣
一旦羽翼成   引上庭樹枝   舉翅不回顧   隨風四散飛
雌雄空中鳴   聲盡呼不歸   卻入空巢裏   啁啾終夜悲
燕燕爾勿悲   爾當返自思   思爾為雛日   高飛背母時
當時父母念   今日爾應知 

Swallow Song                                      江紹倫譯                       

A pair of swallows above our girder appear
A she bird and a he bird together they fair
For a new nest they bring bits of mud and fibre with their beaks
Soon four chicks are hedged in it so neat
The foursome baby birds grow day and night
They plead for nourishment tweeting with mouths wide
Fresh worms are far away and not easy to catch
The opening mouths are ne’er fully fed
Beaks and claws of parent birds are worn out approaching defeat
But caring ma and pa care not their own fatigue
They busy in relay rounds to fetch food without rest
The hunger of their nestlings must not go through any test
After a month of such laborious tasks complete
To teach baby birds to chirp and call is no small feat
The fletching feathers also need be cleaned with mum’s beak
As soon as baby birds get ready to fly
They need be coaxed to take position on tree branches near by
Off they fly with no time for looks to linger
The dispersed birds on wings seen no longer
The parents search in the air calling their young anxiously
Not a single baby bird returns home knowingly
To the empty nest mother and father their love prolong
They twitter grief all night long
Swallow swallow you needn’t harbour any regret
To your own childhood days you must reflect
Remember those happy days you were growing up
You did also leave your parents to freely fly and hop
How your parents cared to be with you in anguish
The same caring you now know too late to appease your parents howe’er you wish

This entry was posted in Poems by - 白居易 (772-846) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 《燕詩示劉叟》 (唐)白居易

  1. FB says:

    Congratulation to all empty-nesters, for jobs well done.

  2. frank yue says:

    hi,

    nice rendition.

    it seems there are some typos:
    1. line 4: ‘hedged’ to read ‘hatched’;
    2. last 8th line: ‘love prolong’ to read ‘love forlorn’.

    i’d like to submit the following attempted rendition, please.

    ‘Swallow Song’ to show Liu the Elderly Bai Juyi (Tang)
    A pair of Swallows on the beam,
    What a fine Husband-and-Wife team.
    Mud with sweet saliva they mix,
    To build a nest for their four chicks.
    Yellow hatchlings grow day and night,
    Always crying for more food flight.
    Green worms are not easy to catch;
    Babies’ hunger is ne’er dispatch’d.
    Though signs of stress beaks and claws show,
    Fatigue the lov’ng parents don’t know.
    Even after a dozen flights,
    Will the dear ones still need more bites?
    After thirty laborious days,
    Nestlings are plump, and Mom slim stays.
    They’re taught to speak and sing high notes;
    Groomed are their fine feathery coats.

    Once the young birds’ wings become strong,
    They’re led up th’ branches before long.
    Off they fly — never looking back,
    Dispersing in the wind, and tack.
    The parents cry endless in th’ wind!
    But th’ young birds are ne’er again seen.
    Returning to their empty nest,
    All night — sorrows swell up their breast.
    Swallow, Swallow, grieve not like so,
    Just remember your days of old,
    When you were young you turn’d your back
    To your parents and off you tack’d!
    Your Mom and Dad were worried so —
    Today, the same griefs you should know.

    frank

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