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.
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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