Rachel Bublitz


I Am Not A Poet

September 4, 2013

I am not a poet. But in my Craft of Translation class, we mostly translate poetry. This is extremely difficult for me, but I kinda love challenges, so I'm sticking to it. Today I translated a poem and for the first time I don't hate what I came up with! I thought I'd share it with everyone…

Okay, so I translated a Chinese poem called “Villa At The Foot Of Mount Chungnan” by Wang Wei, and I have no idea if my version is remotely accurate, in fact I'm pretty sure it isn't… But I like it, so there.

####To Never Return

Hearing Buddha, I searched for love in the middle

But now in my south hill home the years are late

Impulses come and come, but die quickly

Nature tries to surprise me, but no success

I walk to the spot where water ends

Clouds rise and pass like time. I sit.

There are times I see passed friends in the woods

I wish to talk, laugh, and never return

Do you write end of poem like you do at the end of a play? Somehow I don't think so… Anyway, that's it! If you're wondering what I translated it from (because you know I don't speak or read Chinese), we have this helpful text book that has literal translations of poems. Here is the literal, word-for-word translation:

####Villa At The Foot Of Mount Chungnan

middle year/s quite love Buddhist-Way

late-years make-home South Hill side

impulse come often alone go

fine (i.e., natural scenes) turn-of-things in-vain self know

walk to water end (or source) place

sit see cloud/s rise time

occasionally meet woods old-man

talk laugh no return time

What I really dig about this class is that the teacher (Paul Hoover), is fine with you being wrong in your translation, as long as you feel strongly about your finished piece.


Anyway, what do you think?

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