Prelude to water melody﹝水調歌頭﹞Shui Diao Ge Tou:DOUBLE TRANSLATION

This poem is translated by me from classical ancient Chinese into English. Madam Liu May Ling, Toronto, then translated my English into modern Chinese. It may be farcical to the purist. I only wish to show the problems of translation, which is also a kind of understanding and interpretation and reinterpretation of anything original. This is done in the spirit of fun, for I am not Chinese educated, and Madam Liu is not English educated.

Prelude to water melody﹝水調歌頭﹞Shui Diao Ge Tou


By 蘇軾 Su Shi or Su Dong-po (Song Dynasty 1076 AD),

由 蘇軾或蘇東坡(宋朝 公元 1076年)

Whence the next luminous moon appeared?


Raising my wine-cup, to the blue sky, I cheered.


I knew neither the gate of heavenly abode,


Nor how the evening in celestial years, decode.


I desired on the wind in my blissful return;


might damage the exquisite jade and jasper, my concern.


The high altitude with its bitter cold was a dread;


Casting shadows in dance, to a different world I fled.


The lights revolved around its amber pavilion;


Through its low lattices, it scattered in zillion;


Its glittering reflection affected my sleep soon;


I hold no resentment, even part under full moon.


Happiness, sadness, union and separation, are common human emotion;

幸福、悲傷、 結合和分離,是人類普遍的情緒;

The moon has own dimness, brightness, wax and wane, in the horizon.

月亮有其自己的亮度,亮光,月滿和月虧 ,在那地平線上。

Such imperfection was revealed since bygone years;


We only cherished to live longer and endeared.


To share the bond such brilliance brought;


Despite living miles apart, aspiration was sought.




4 thoughts on “Prelude to water melody﹝水調歌頭﹞Shui Diao Ge Tou:DOUBLE TRANSLATION

  1. The Emu

    I commend you on the efforts in putting your works together, your translating from classical Chinese to English, then your friend translating your English into modern Chinese, quite a feat.


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