This is my first attempt at translating a Tang Dynasty Chinese Poem. Keep in mind that the poem is written in traditional characters. This Tang poem has 5 characters per line.

Tang Poetry, like the one I am translating here, comes from the Tang Dynasty, a Chinese dynasty that lasted from 618 to 907 AD.

Translating fiction can often be difficult due to the nuances of the original text in the original language. I always try to make the work sound natural in English while not flying too far away from the actual word-for-word translations.

Originial Text
001 張九齡: 感遇四首之一
孤鴻海上來,
池潢不敢顧。
側見雙翠鳥,
巢在三珠樹。
矯矯珍木巔,
得無金丸懼?
美服患人指,
高明逼神惡。
今我遊冥冥,
弋者何所慕?

Pinyin Version
001 zhāng jiǔ líng :   gǎn yù sì shǒu zhī yī
孤鴻海上來,:gū hóng hăi shàng lái,
池潢不敢顧。:chí huáng  bù gǎn gù.
側見雙翠鳥,:cè jiàn shuāng cuì niǎo, 
巢在三珠樹。:cháo zài sān zhū shù.
矯矯珍木巔,:jiǎo jiǎo zhēn mù diān,
得無金丸懼。:dé wú jīn wán jù.
美服患人指,:měi fú huàn rén zhǐ,
高明逼神惡。:gāo míng bī shén è.
今我遊冥冥,:jīn wǒ yóu míng míng,
弋者何所慕。:yì zhě hé suǒ mù.

For lengths’ sake I will not include the literal word-for-word translation this time:

“Thoughts I of IV” by Zhang Jiuling: Translation by Will C.H.

孤鴻海上來,|A lone swan comes from the sea,
池潢不敢顧。|not daring to consider ponds and lakes.
側見雙翠鳥,|Seen on the side, a pair of kingfisher,
巢在三珠樹。|nested in a three-pearl tree.
矯矯珍木巔,|Brave at the summit of a precious tree,
得無金丸懼?  |are they not scared of slingshots?
美服患人指,|The fancifully dressed endure negative over attention,
高明逼神惡。|the most brilliant must endure heavenly wrath.
今我遊冥冥,|Now I roam far and wide,
弋者何所慕?  |What place is there for a hunter to admire?


I liked this poem. I also have always loved the imagery of birds in fiction. It was somewhat difficult translation work, but I enjoy it and want to further get into literary translation.

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