20 March 2018

Li Shen: 2 Ancient Airs (Pity the Peasants) 李紳: 古風 (憫農) 2首

Today, I am re-posting the text and my 2012 English rendition of Li Shen's 2 poems "Pity the Peasants" referred to as "Ancient Airs", but without my notes which may be distracting.  The notes can nonetheless be found in my original posts posted in May and April 2012 (links below).

The 2 poems are 5-character quatrains.  I had rendered the 1st poem in tetrameter (4 feet or beats) but had been unable to do so for the 2nd poem which ended up in hexameter (6 feet or beats).  I hope you will not find the lines in my rendition of the 2nd poem too long since I have invariably provided a pause (caesura) mid-line (e.g. line 1: "... in the rice-field / under the ...").  You will not be made breathless reading my 6-beat lines.   

A:  Li Shen (772-846) "Ancient Air/Pity the Peasants 1 of 2"

Each grain of millet sown in spring 

Will by autumn harvest, a myriad bring.
Across the land no fields lie vacant, yet  
Peasants still found----starving, dying.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)  
8th April 2010 (revised 9.4.10; 25.4.12)
李紳: 古風/憫農 2 其1


B:  Li Shen (772-846) "Ancient Air/Pity the Peasants 2 of 2"  

He heaves his hoe in the rice-field, under the noonday sun,
Onto the soil of the rice-field, his streaming sweat beads run.
Ah, do you or don’t you know it?  That bowl of rice we eat:
Each grain, each ev’ry granule, the fruit of his labour done.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)  
17th March 2010 (revised 18.3.10; 22.3.10; 24.3.10; 25.3.10; 30.3.10; 17.8.10)
李紳: 古風/憫農 2首 其2 

1 comment:

Walter Lo said...
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