Woxin is whipping my ass with its Chinese. A break for something simpler: videlicet, Li Bai. His justly famous
Immensely simple; only a couple of kanji that an intermediate Japanese reader wouldn't know. It's the simple ones that are impossible, as that one poem by Wang Wei about the sun-illumined moss shows. But we do our best.
You have left me behind, old friend, at the Yellow Crane Terrace,Should I quote Pound? This is the one that has several howlers, due to him going through two languages he didn't know.
On your way to visit Yangzhou in the misty month of flowers;
Your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky,
Till now I see only the river, on its way to heaven.
Ko-jin goes west from Ko-kaku-ro,Kojin is just 'old friend' and not anyone's name. And well, Ko-kaku-ro is yellow crane tower in Japanese.
The smoke flowers are blurred over the river.
His lone sail blots the far sky.
And now I see only the river,
The long Kiang, reaching heaven.
And here's the one I like best, from a book called The Heart of Chinese Poetry by Greg Whincup, the first book I ever met to give me the Chinese text and a literal word-for-word rendering. It took a long time for people to realize that the occasional English speaker could in fact make some sense of the hanzi involved, but I'm pleased to see the notion of Chinese text and English translation is now becoming more widespread.
My old friendSniff sniff snerf, which the other translations don't make me do.
Bids farewell to me
In the west at Yellow Crane Tower.
Amid April's mist and flowers
He goes down to Yang-jou.
The distant image
Of his lonely sail
Disappears in blue emptiness,
And all I see
Is the Long River
Flowing to the edge of the sky