mjj (flemmings) wrote,

A filk from the FFL contains the chorus

We're proud to be Canadian:
Politeness in the face of assholes could be thought a curse.
It's cool in many ways to be Canadian:
We may not be much better; it's just that we're less worse.

Which about nails it.

Last finished?

Colin Cotterill, Thirty-Three Teeth and Disco for the Departed
-- the Siri Paibouns read very fast. Still love the ghosts and whatevers in a context where ghosts are to be expected and operate quite differently from western ones.

A.C. Graham (trans), Poems of the Late T'ang
-- Mh. Now I begin to wonder about these translations. There's a poem by Du Mu:


Here's Graham's translation

Far up the cold mountain the stony path slopes
Where the white clouds are born there are homes of men
Stop the carriage, sit and enjoy the evening in the maple wood:
The frosty leaves are redder than the second month's flowers

And another translation I found long ago

Far away on the cold mountain, a stone path slants upwards,
In the white clouds is a village, where people have their homes
I stop the carriage, loving the maple wood in the evening
The frosted leaves are redder than the second month's flowers

From what I can puzzle out, Graham is closer to the hanzi (am not qualified to say 'closer to the Chinese') but the latter reads better to me as a poem. I may be coming round to the notion that since the 'poetry' of all Chinese verse is lost in translation, you might as well take liberties and make a good English poem of it. But that leads you to Ezra Pound-type liberties, not hommages.

Reading now?
O'Connor (trans), When I Find You Again It Will Be In Mountains
- subtitle- Selected Poems of Chia Tao. Another late Tang poet, disciple of Meng Chiao and Han Yu who are translated in Graham's book. Unlike those two, his poems read to me quite classical: but that may be because there are no Graham notes to point out what phrases are violent departures from earlier poetic orthodoxy.

Hugh Greene, ed- The American Rivals of Sherlock Holmes
-who so far read rather silly

Henry Chang, Death Money
-- one of a series about a NY Chinatown cop, and about as noirish gritty as expected.

And next?
More Dr Siri, as the library provides them, which is not fast enough. Annoyingly *none* of the six libraries within biking distance has any copies of the earlier books, bar e-books that operate on an obscure system and anyway I dislike reading books off a screen.
Tags: chinese, meme, reading_16, verse

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