I have translated Du Fu’s “Ancient Crypus” from ancient Chinese into English. My friend from Toronto, Mdm. Liu May Ling, translated my English into modern Chinese. For the language purist, please be reminded that this is done merely for fun, and also to help readers to understand the poem. If in any doubt, always refer to the original with their commentaries. Needless to say, all translations are interpretations.
AN ANCIENT CRYPUS TRAVELS ACROSS TIME〔古柏行〕
At the front entrance of Kong Ming shrine, an ancient cyprus shines,
Root anchors into rocks, bronze like verdant branches, spread out fine.
Frosted bark, with slippery sheen in rain, measures forty spans around,
Jets into the dark sky at two thousand feet, it complements the surround.
At an opportune time, place and event, the master and his lord meet,
The tree epitomizes mutual devotion, remains still in time, to greet.
Air turbulence shifts clouds and rain to Wuxia Gorge, its vastness expands,
From snowy mountains to cyprus, the moon casts its reflection, the cold stands.
In bygone days, remembrance of eastern pavilion and hut, my mind meanders,
To a shared secluded temple, where the military commanders and hislord, gather.
In the outskirt of an ancient plane, the giant trunk of the crypus, towers,
Without red and black painting and murals, chamber is empty and tatters.
The corypus spread far and wide, the earth is firmly held,
In the dimmed and lonely heights, violent wind is quelled.
The strength from heaven helps to sustain,
The power of creator, stand upright to gain.
To prevent a great hall from collapse, strong rafters and beams are required,
Even ten thousand oxen would turn heads and wonder the weight they mired.
Humble in its inner strength, the world of man is amazed,
To fell without trimming, the utility cannot be appraised.
Despite hearty intention, termites could invade and erode,
Its fragrant leaves always provide phoenix with good abode.
Ambitious scholars and reclusive hermits do not sigh and resent,
In the past, great talents are always hard to bend ideas and dent.