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2 found, 1 lost - Off the Cliff

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Sat Sep 30th, 2017

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08:52 pm - 2 found, 1 lost
1. Poems of the Late Tang, exactly where it should be, on the Chinese shelf in the study. Or one copy of same, because it's much more dilapidated and about to fall apart than I remember it being. Re-reading, am not sure why I found Li He 'Harrowing' the first time around, not in Graham's translation. Online is a different story:

Su Hsiao-Hsiao's Tomb

Dew upon lonely orchids
Like tear-brimmed eyes.
No twining of love-knots,
Mist-wreathed flowers I cannot bear to cut.

Grass for her cushions,
Pines for her awning,
Wind as her skirts,
Water as girdle-jades.
In her varnished carriage
She is waiting at dusk.
Cold candles, kingfisher-green,
Weary with shining.

Over the Western Grave-mound
Wind-blown rain

2. Grey pants. 'Could I have left them on the line?' I thought last week, glancing out the back door. No. But when I went to hang today's wash on the line, there were my pants carefully folded over the porch rail, where they'd been in all weathers for two weeks, not one. Well-aired at least.

3. Lost: went out to bring the bicycle in. My rain cape was lying beside it on the lawn. Could it have fallen out by itself? No, because my head-light has disappeared, stolen by one of the pesky youth in the neighbourhood, who seem to have made an attempt on the rear light as well before taking off. Just when I thought it was safe to leave things outside. At least pesky youth lack the skills to detach my various neighbours' bicycles from their various porch rails: or lack so far.

PS The harrowing translations are by Frodsham, whose book I must get. Two reviews that quote even stranger verses can be found here and here .
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(4 comments | post comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2017 05:03 am (UTC)
Oh, I do so dislike pesky youth, who I suppose don't realise how much damage they do by eroding community trust and cohesion. :(

Ah well. Thanks for the poem - I found another translation online:
but haven't seen who it was by.
The version you posted reminded me of a scrap of lullaby by Eleanor Farjeon:
"Moon for your cradle,
dark for your cover..." (mid-1930s, as best I know).
And also of "western wind, when will you blow..."
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2017 12:26 am (UTC)
The younger generation: always a lost cause.

Your translation is much more resonant than the one I found. I don't know if the suggestion I got, that the waiting woman is herself a ghost and possibly a malignant one as well, is borne out by the original Chinese.

Hey! Someone else who's read Martin Pippin! We're a rare breed, you know.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2017 04:16 am (UTC)
Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard was the first book I saved up and bought for myself, going all the way into town to a bookshop which felt almost magical, to have such a book in it. :)
I like her fairy-stories too.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2017 12:22 pm (UTC)
I started with Daisy-field, and was a bit let-down by Apple Orchard. The troubadour chivalric 'bless the silly little dears' attitude annoyed me. Martin is much less condescending to the children than to the dairy maids.

But I remember going to the bookstore, age 11, and *ordering my own book* from England. How very grown-up it felt: because of course I'd had no idea that books could be ordered.

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