Tuesday, March 25, 2014


                     For the love of yesterday's pink azalea after the sprinkler turned off.

When spring has come again and the earliest things begin to bloom in the garden, well, it makes me very happy. Both my parents liked to garden and I do, too, although the necessary attention to grow, for instance, food, is harder for me to sustain. Tra-la, I'm off to read. Here is one of Li Po's classical Chinese poems that has been treated with a light manner (particularly the last two words) by William Carlos Williams. If this were scripture, I wouldn't let him get away with it, but I kind of like it, even though generally I prefer a little higher tone that this last line for these versions from the Chinese.


A young lass 
plucks mulberry leaves by the river

Her white hand
Reaches among the green

Her flushed cheeks
Shine under the sun

The hungry silkworms
Are waiting

Oh, young horseman
Why do you tarry. Get going.

LI PO,  version by William Carlos Williams,
from The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry;
edited by Eliot Weinberger, page 87.

And another thing, I'm glad I don't have to raise silkworms, reel off the silk, spin it and so forth. Seems like pretty tedious work, requiring that you pay attention or the whole effort will be spoiled. The translations/versions in this same anthology by Ezra Pound pay more attention to create more of a costume drama sort of classical effect. That's probably what I would strive for, but I admire WCW's modern exhuberance!

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