Below is my latest translation, a quatrain by an early Tang poet He Zhizhang.
He Zhizhang (659-744): An Ode to the Willow
1 Up to your crown, O willow, dressed in the green of jades,
2 Myriads of twigs so verdant, droop like your silken braids.
3 Who knows who the tailor is, who’s cut your leaves so fine? It’s
4 The vernal winds past February, sharp as the scissors’ blades.
Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黄宏發
20th November 2008
Translated from the original - 賀知章: 詠柳
* The original is in 7-character lines. This English rendition is in hexameter (6 metrical feet). The rhyme scheme is AAXA as in the original.
* Line 1: I take 一樹高 to mean “to the top of the tree” or “the whole tree” and not “a tall tree”, hence, the phrase “Up to your crown”, “crown” means “head”.
* Line 2: I had considered “hair in braids” but have decided for “silken braids”.
* Line 3: I had considered “master” but have decided for “tailor”.
* Line 4: I have used “past February” as 二月 the second lunar month approximates the solar month of March.