CHINESE POETRY.

I have discovered a truly marvelous site that “presents Chinese, pinyin and English texts of poems by some of the greatest Chinese poets.” What I would have given for such a resource back when I was struggling with texts and translations and Mathews! They have dozens of poems by Du Fu (Tu Fu), as well as many poems by Bai Juyi (Po Chü-i), Du Mu, Han Yu, Li Bai (Li Po), Li Shangyin (one of my personal favorites), Li Yu, Meng Haoran, Su Shi, Tao Qian, Wang Wei, and others. I went to the Li Bai page and the first thing my eye lit on was “Changgan Memories,” which is the poem Pound rendered as “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” (one of the most beautiful poems in the English language). They have the poem in characters, in pinyin transcription (“Qie fa chu fu e/ Zhe hua man qian ju/ Lang qi zhu ma lai…”), in character-by-character literal translation (“My hair first cover forehead/ Break flower gate before play/ You ride bamboo horse come…”), and in a poetic translation:

When first my hair began to cover my forehead,
I picked and played with flowers before the gate.
You came riding on a bamboo horse…

And they have notes (“bamboo horse: a bamboo cane used as a toy horse”). Dayenu! But that’s not all, folks; they continue:

This poem also exists in a famous translation by Ezra Pound. Analysis of this translation and comparisons of different versions can be found here. Pound’s source material and other translations are here.
Other Chinese poems about Separation and Autumn.

I won’t say it’s impossible to imagine a better Chinese poetry site, because the human imagination is limitless, but this is a damn good one and deserves bookmarking by anyone with the slightest interest in the subject.
Addendum. Avva, having come across Chris’s comment (quoting si shi si, shi shi shi…), found an entire page of Chinese and English tonguetwisters. And he provided me with a Russian moniker; after trying out the adjectives yazycheskii ‘pagan’ and yazykatyi ‘sharp-tongued,’ he settled on yazykovoy ‘pertaining to language, linguistic,’ and I became Yazykovaya Shlyapa. Size 7¼.

Comments

  1. More of a tongue-twister, but fun to recite (and the only one I can do so from memory) (in pin yin):

    sì shì sì
    shí shì shí
    shí sì shì shí sì
    sì shí shì sì shí

    (“4 is 4, 10 is 10, 14 is 14, 40 is 40″)

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