送友人 (唐) 李白

 
送友人                                   Farewell to A Friend                             
李白                                        Li Bai (701-762)
                                                tr. YK Chan 陳耀國譯

青山横北郭,白水绕东城。 Green hills traverse the northern outskirts; glistening water meanders to city east.   
此地一为别,孤蓬万里征At this departure point, you as a lone sail navigate ten thousand li at least.
浮云游子意,落日故人情。 A wanderer drifts like clouds, till sunset he recalls old friends and deeds.
挥手自兹去,萧萧班马鸣。 Waving good-bye to you from here, neighing too are our riding steeds.

About YK 1965

Class of WYK1965 Microbiologist (Environmental Microbiology) Honorary Research Fellow Agriculture Canada, Ottawa
This entry was posted in Poems - All, Poems by - 李白 (710-762) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 送友人 (唐) 李白

  1. frank yue says:

    hi, y k,

    thanks for a very enjoyable rendition. if i may, i have some v minor suggestions for your possible consideration please:

    a. line 1: ‘clear’ is not a colour in itself; may be ‘white waters’ would be more appropriate in this context to contrast with ‘green hills’ a la the original poem.

    b. line 3: should ‘like clouds’ be ‘like a cloud’ to make this into the singular in agreement with the singular ‘the wanderer’?

    c. line 4: to translate 班 in 班马, your last line might perhaps be rendered something like–
    ‘We wave hands as we part, neighing too are our parting steeds.’

    frank

  2. YK 1965 says:

    Thank you for your suggestions, Frank. Lines 1 and 4 have been revised as shown above.

    a. The water’s color can’t be taken literally. I think that “white” means glistening (as reflections) here.

    b. It’s unusual to find a single drifting cloud in the wide sky. A cloud, therefore, usually has company. I can imagine the first line of the art song “教我如何不想他 How can I not think of her/him?”:”Light clouds drifting in the sky/天上飘着些微云 Tian shang piao zhe xie wei yun…”

    c. “兹” actually means “from here”. I think “班马” means the accompanying horses. I’d just say that they were the horses Li Bai and his friend rode.

  3. frank yue says:

    hi, y k,

    may i submit my rendition below for comments, please.

    【送友人】 李白
    青山橫北郭, 白水繞東城。
    此地一為別, 孤蓬萬里征。
    浮雲遊子意, 落日故人情。
    揮手自玆去, 蕭蕭班馬鳴。

    Farewell, My Friend! Li Bai (701-762)
    Green mountains to the northern suburb lie;
    White waters eastern wall’d city flow by.
    Once we part from this very place,
    Long voyage your lone sail shall embrace!
    Drift’ng cloud upholds wanderlust friend’s free will;
    Part’ng sun glows with old friends’ affections still.
    Waving hands, we go on separate ways;
    Leaving you, my parting horse sadly neighs!

    (Translation dedicated to the loving memory of my friend,
    the late Dr. Thomas Cheung Sik-hin.)

  4. YK 1965 says:

    Hi Frank,

    Your translation is mainly in iambic pentameter, rhyming in cuplets. That’s not an easy task.

    Line 5: Li Bai’s friend (whoever he was) might not be a wanderlust (someone longing to travel–he had caught the travel bug). We don’t really know the purpose of his leaving town. I understand that you don’t mean “free will” in the philosophical sense, rather suggesting a happy-go-lucky free spirit. Again, we don’t really know about his character and what he liked to do.

    The emotion conveyed by the poem is Li Bai’s, but different ideas can be provoked in the reader. Your interpretation is closer to your heart.

    YK

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