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Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

TWO GREAT CHINESE POETS: THE EMPEROR AND HIS PRIME MINISTER

Friday, April 14th, 2006

 

     The Emperor was Li Jiing and his Prime Minister was Ferng Yan Zi. They were two of the greatest Alpha poets in a dynasty called the Southern Tang Dynasty ( c.900 A.D.), about 150 years since the prime time of Chinese Poetry– the Tang Dynasty! That was a time of turmoil in the Chinese history. The Southern Tang Dynasty was being stalked by an ambitious and powerful neighbor, the Later Zhou Dynasty. With the establishment of Sung Dynasty, the Southern Tang was destroyed by Sung in the name of unification. Guess who was the last emperor of Southern Tang. It was Li Jiing’s eighth son, Li Yu (937-978 A.D.). Li Yu was universally recognized as one of the greatest Chinese poets of all times–in the same calibre as Li Po. I wonder if that can be called a genetic evidence or merely the result of intense interactions and participations in the common interest of Poetry? 

 

     I have translated two of their most famous poems here, showing similar rhyming and rhythmic constructions therein, not very different from the versification in the West.

     Hence it may be shown that versification in poetry is a universal practice occurring both in the East and the West, the common goal of which has been identified as the attainment of the Supreme Mathematical Relationships–the ultimate expression of Beauty.

    I hope my translation of these two exquisite poems could still retain some of the incredible charm in the original native forms. One needs to understand the language in order to acquire a feeler for that–so the selection of these two have been dedicated especially to my brother Paul and my other Chinese friends.

 

 

ben 42.jpg

Note that the rhymes occur at * 

Paying Homage to Golden Gate    By Ferng Yan Zi (The Prime Minister)

 The wind suddenly was hoisted

Wrinkling the water in a Spring pond.

Teasing the wood ducks was she sighted

 And caressing red buds of almond

In a lane of fragrance.

Against the duck deck,

Alone did she lean,

 Stuck in her hair was a green jade pin.

All day she longed for my arrival.

Just as she raised her head,

Upon hearing a magpie sing,

She saw me and was joyful! 

 

ben 41.jpg

Note that the rhymes occur at * 

Laundry Brook Sand    By Li Jiing  ( Emperor Li ) 

Gone was the lotus fragrance

Withered, its emerald leaves!

Among the green waves heaves,

Oh, sadness! –the west wind had risen!

Gone,too, and more withered

Was the prime of Spring:

What a pitiable, unsightly thing!

I dreamed of yonder chicken farm

Basking in a soft light rain.

A flute solo thoroughly chilled the charm

Of the small mansion main.

Alone I stood leaning on the deck set

With much tears, and endless regrets!

 

 

 

 Translated into English by

 

Ben Taishing Lau

 

 

  The recognition of Alpha Seers has nothing to do with elitism. On the other hand, it has everything to do with generosity, which is to award the proper protection and status to an Alpha Seer when one is spotted. With Mediocrity growing at the speed of weed, entangling and suffocating every precious thing in its horrid path, the Alpha Seers, who are already rare, have become endangered species.

   

 

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