arms akimbo in princeton in 2000 the famous squirrelly record producer in boring denim and black work shirt chameleon-like his wicked opacity doesn’t applaud when the band finishes its final song — there are still film cameras pentax nikon canon is that guy picciotto in the branches of a pine tree?
Gracieux fils de Pan! Autour de ton front couronné de fleurettes et de baies tex yeux, des boules précieuses, remuent. Tachées de lies brunes, tes joues se creusent. Tes crocs luisent. Ta poitrine ressemble à une cithare, des tintements circulent dans tes bras blonds. Ton cœur bat dans ce ventre où dort le double sexe. Promène-toi, la nuit, en mouvant doucement cette cuisse, cette seconde cuisse et cette jambe de gauche.
trans. John Ashbery
Graceful son of Pan! Around your forehead crowned with small flowers and berries, your eyes precious spheres, are moving. Spotted with brownish wine lees, your cheeks grow hollow. Your fangs gleam. Your chest is like a lyre, jingling sounds circulate between your blond arms. Your heart beats in that belly where the double sex sleeps. Walk at night, gently moving that thigh, that second thigh and that left leg.
trans. Wallace Fowlie
Graceful son of Pan! Under your brow crowned with flowers and berries, your eyes, precious balls, move. Spotted with dark streaks, your cheeks look hollow. Your fangs glisten. Your chest is like a lyre and tinklings move up and down your white arms. Your heart beats in that abdomen where your double sex sleeps. Walk at night and move gently this thigh, then this other thigh and this left leg.
trans. Joseph M. Gerace
Beats in the belly! Whereas your bat dans tes pan! Autour heart beats in the abdomen where your fangs glisten. Your eyes, remuent. Tachées de gauche. Ancient trains walk at night, gently moving sound. Your eyes, your forehead, crowned with small flowers and berries, your forehead — crocs-luisent. Tachées de les tes yeux, des boules précieux fils de pan! Under your fangs gleam brilliant blond arms. Your double, à une cithare, des tes yeux, des boules précieux, fils de pan! Autour forehead crocs luisent. Tachées de pan! Autour hearts beat in your thigh.
Un beau matin, chez un peuple fort doux, un homme et une femme superbes criaient sur la place publique. «Mes amis, je veux qu’elle soit reine!» «Je veux être reine!» Elle riait et tremblait. Il parlait aux amis de révélation, d’épreuve terminée. Ils se pâmaient lun contre l’autre.
En effet ils furent rois toute toute une matinée où les tentures carminées se relevèrent sur les maisons, et toute l´après-midi, où ils sávancérent du côté des jardins de palmes.
One fine morning, in the country of a very gentle people, a magnificent man and woman were shouting in the public square. “My friends, I want her to be queen!” “I want to be queen!” She was laughing and trembling. He spoke to their friends of revelation, of trials completed. They swooned against each other.
In fact they were regents for a whole morning as crimson hangings were raised against the houses, and for the whole afternoon, as they moved toward the groves of palm trees.
Source: Rimbaud, Arthur, and John Ashbery. Illuminations. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012, pp. 52-53.
Forgive her. Sometimes she forgets she is painfully the same as stagnant water, hollow ditches, foolishly imagines she has the right to exist.
Forgive a portrait’s listless rage, whose longing for movement melts in her paper eyes.
Forgive this woman whose casket is washed over by a flowing red moon, her body’s thousand-year sleep perturbed by night’s stormy scent.
Forgive this woman who’s crumbling inside, but whose eyelids tingle still with dreams of light, her useless hair quivering hopelessly, infiltrated by love’s breath.
People of the land of plain joys, you who have opened your windows to the rain, forgive her, forgive because your lives’ fertile roots burrow into her exiled soil and pound with envy’s rod her naive heart, until it swells.
No one attacks it with a long lance,
No one plies a strong cross-bow.
Suckling its grandsons, rearing its cubs,
It trains them into savagery.
Its reared head becomes a wall
Its waving tail becomes a banner.
Even Huang from the Eastern Sea,¹
Dreaded to see it after dark,
A righteous tiger, met on the road,²
Was quite enough to upset Niu Ai.
What good is it for that short sword
To hang on the wall, growling like thunder?
When from the foot of Tai mountain
Comes the sound of a woman weeping,
Government regulations forbid
Any official to dare to listen.³
A satire on oppressive government, of which the tiger was the symbol. Caught between the Central Government and the warlords, the people are harassed as though by tigers.
Huang, of Dong-hai, had magical powers which enabled him to control snakes and tigers. Unfortunately for him, he lost these powers through drinking to excess and was eventually killed by a tiger.
The zhou-yu was a white tiger with black markings which appeared only when a state was perfectly governed. It would not tread on grain nor eat living things. Niu Ai was a duke turned were-tiger, who ate his own elder brother. He is pointing out that some tigers are worse than others.
Confucius found a woman weeping at the foot of Mount Tai. Though her whole family had been killed by tigers she refused to leave the district, because there was no oppressive government there. This caused Confucius to remark that an oppressive government was more savage than any tiger.
Li He is the bad-boy poet of the late Tang dynasty. He began writing at the age of seven and died at twenty-six from alcoholism or, according to a later commentator, “sexual dissipation,” or both. An obscure and unsuccessful relative of the imperial family, he would set out at dawn on horseback, pause, write a poem, and toss the paper away. A servant boy followed him to collect these scraps in a tapestry bag.
Long considered far too extravagant and weird for Chinese taste, Li He was virtually excluded from the poetic canon until the mid-twentieth century. Today, as the translator and scholar Anne M. Birrell, writes, “Of all the Tang poets, even of all Chinese poets, he best speaks for our disconcerting times.” Modern critics have compared him to Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Keats, and Trakl.
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echo without tongue
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departments and programs
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the new edition of the translation
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west relates how many university translators
treat the translator’s invisibility without echo
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imagine a soft clumsy giant ingrown in a mountain
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