31 May 2018

Wang Fanzhi: 2 Untitled Colloquial Quatrains 王梵志: 無題白話絕句 2首

Today, I am posting 2 quatrains by Wang Fanzhi 王梵志 of the late Sui 隋 dynasty and early Tang 唐 dynasty, a precursor of the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk poet Hanshan 寒山.  These 4-lined poems strictly are not quatrains as they do not follow the tonal measures of "regulated verse" 近體詩, nor are they "old style verse" 古詩 as their language is rather colloquial.  They do have an XAXA rhyme scheme.  So, call them "rhymes" 打油詩, if you please.  But they do convey a serious message.  Here we go:-


A:  Wang Fanzhi (592? - 670?): Untitled/Earthy steamed buns, out in the country

Earthy steamed buns, out in the country,
Their fillings alive, and dwell in town;
We each in turn will have to take one,
Its taste may let you down. Don’t frown!

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者黃宏發
25th April 2015 (revised 29.4.15; 30.4.15; 1.5.15)
Translated from the original - 
王梵志無題 /城外土饅頭

城外土饅頭
餡草在城裡
一人吃一個
莫嫌沒滋味



B:  Wang Fanzhi (592? – 670?): Untitled/No man lives to a hundred years

No man lives to a hundred years;
Write songs to sing for a thousand, what for?
The dead, on seeing an iron wrought threshold, 
Clap hands and laugh: “We did it before!”

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者黃宏發
27th April 2015 (revised 29.4.15; 30.4.15; 1.5.15; 26.5.15)
Translated from the original - 王梵志無題/世無百年人

世無百年人
強作千年調
打鐵作門限
鬼見拍手笑

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