Yesterday's poem leads into this week's theme, translated poetry:
(Poem #749) Parting
Green mountains rise to the north; white water rolls past the eastern city. Once it has been uprooted, the tumbleweed travels forever. Drifting clouds like a wanderer's mind; sunset, like the heart of your old friend. We turn, pause, look back and wave, Even our ponies look back and whine.
Translated by Sam Hamill. Quite a few poets have essayed their own translations of Li Po's poem. Here's the inimitable Ezra Pound: "Parting" Blue mountains to the north of the wall, White river winding about them; Here we must make separation And go out through a thousand miles of dead grass. Mind like a floating wide cloud, Sunset like the parting of old acquaintances Who bow over their clasped hands at a distance Our horses neigh to each other as we are departing. -- Ezra Pound And here's his Imagist colleague Amy Lowell: "Parting" Clear green hills at a right angle to the North Wall, White water winding to the East of the city. Here is the place where we must part. The lonely water-plants go ten thousand li; The floating clouds wander everywhither as does man. Day is departing--it and my friend. Our hands separate. Now he is going. "Hsiao, hsiao," the horse neighs. He neighs again, "Hsiao, hsiao." -- Amy Lowell and Florence Ayscough My favourite translator, though, is Sam Hamill; there's something about his style - simple, unaffected, yet intensely evocative, which resonates with my idea of what Li Po's marvellous poems _should_ be like. Hamill's 1993 anthology "Endless River: Li Po and Tu Fu, A Friendship in Poetry" is especially ecommended. I'm told that Vikram Seth has some exquisite translations of Li Po, Tu Fu and Wang Wei in his anthology "Three Chinese Poets"; I haven't read them myself, though. Several other translations of this particular poem can be found on Ken Hope's impressive website, at [broken link] http://www.northshore.net/homepages/hope/LiboLeaving.html thomas. [Links] Once again, let me plug Ken Hope's pages dedicated to Li Po , which are part of his large and very comprehensive poetry website . I especially recommend the Story of the Yellow Crane , which, although it has no direct connection with Li Po, is very beautiful. Also not to be missed is Hope's own introductory essay on Li Po , an essay which brims over with enthusiasm and delight.  [broken link] http://www.northshore.net/homepages/hope/LiBoPoems.html  [broken link] http://www.northshore.net/homepages/hope/KHpoetry.html  [broken link] http://www.northshore.net/homepages/hope/yellowcrane.html  [broken link] http://www.northshore.net/homepages/hope/Libointro.html Li Po has featured on the Minstrels before; check out Poem #70, "The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter" Poem #504, "About Tu Fu" Poem #683, "To Tu Fu from Shantung" all of which can be found on the Minstrels website, http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/ [On the theme] Spare a thought for translators: they have to balance painstaking craftsmanship with original expression; insightful criticism with deep and abiding sympathy for the works they criticize; poetic licence with faithful tribute. If the poet is the bold and innovative composer of symphonies, the translator is the maestro who conducts them, bringing his own interpretation to the concert hall while taking care never to obscure or misrepresent the creative genius behind them. It's a hard task, and a thankless one; how many translators can _you_ name? This week's theme attempts to redress the balance by highlighting some poems (and poets) who've benefited from having wonderful translators. As usual, if you have any suggestions you'd like to share with the rest of the list, do write in.