December 01, 2004

Another translation for Hongying's poem

which lies behind her new novel 'the green platye'


摘自 虹影 《绿袖子》

In what way
that I can see
My future,
beside the shade of
the map or,
When you touched me softly with
your finger on
my painful skin

It exceeds the fragrance of
the best sex I had,
with you
Only compares to

the joy left from
the last twinkling of
the light

I like the last line best… can't translate it at all…. the previous version is in one of my old entry

- 12 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. My future is marked in the folding lines of the map
    your fingers slightly touch above.
    My sorrow slices my heart with every glimpse I steal.

    The joy rests not in the sweetness of lust,
    But in the last twinkle of light, between us,
    It slid by, taking with it my all

    02 Dec 2004, 17:17

  2. I like the 'my sorrow slices my heart with every glimpse I steal' line…

    hmmm… is it possible to keep the '之途', which means 'on the way', 'on the journey' in English??

    02 Dec 2004, 21:17

  3. You are gonna have to explain the source text to me first :D Caz I have no idea how to put it in simple, prosaic Chinese

    03 Dec 2004, 13:45

  4. Let me give it a go:

    How can I see?
    My future, in that folding line
    of the map
    Your finger, tenderly
    Touched my sorrow

    More fragrant than sex, feels like the first time
    Between you and me
    As if, in that last moment, the light slips
    down that path of redundant pleasure

    04 Dec 2004, 20:27

  5. i like the word slip!

    04 Dec 2004, 21:42

  6. I like the fact that you translated the contrast (first time – last moment), because I think it's one of the most poetic moves in the original text. But it's a hard one to translate. Maybe we could work it out together?

    04 Dec 2004, 21:50

  7. My headache is getting the better of me, not inspired at all.

    Seems to me you two take more liberty in rewriting the poem than I've allowed myself.

    At the end of the day poetry translation is very personal. It's the product of the translator's mood and state of mind of a particular time.

    If I revisit this poem tomorrow I probably would come up with a completely different version.

    04 Dec 2004, 22:15

  8. I think I should share you two the book.
    Having read bits of k , I think the Green Platye is written in a more prosaic language…
    It is more… tricky… maybe I should have said inductive… and sensitive… since she's wiser in Chinese writing, it becomes more difficult to translate

    and more importantly, our dearest, nicest Red Chan: would you please introduce us more of the modern Chinese literature, please! … since you have THAT many books! Within them I could recogonise some famous titles and names, some I have read but not really understood, some i only heard of and never got the chance to read… Can we possible share a bit of your treasures????

    05 Dec 2004, 01:48

  9. Red Chan

    I'll be happy to lend you my books – as long as you promise to take very good care of them and return them afterwards. A pity that I'm very busy all the time, otherwise I'll start a reading group of Chinese literature.

    I love talking about books and writers (can't stop once I start), one of my favourite pastimes is to discuss with friends a particular book (or film) in detail. You can find a whole new world in sharing views of the same text!

    I'm running half of an MA module in hybrid identities next term and I've invited the translator of K to give us a talk. You should come! I'll also try to invite Hong Ying, if she's around I'm sure she'll say yes.

    05 Dec 2004, 10:39

  10. Thank you so much Red!

    05 Dec 2004, 13:02

  11. Having read the orignal twice, I could still not figure out 'so what?' What does the original really mean, what did she want to express. I would say that it is just a random thought. Without any pop-out understanding at all, I won't translate.

    03 Jan 2005, 15:04

  12. I think this is a poem about sex and love. The first part is about having sex. and the second part about the love. '地图上的折叠之处' and '伤心处', to my understanding, are all metaphors to woman's sex organ.

    23 Jan 2005, 12:55

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