Friday, August 31, 2007

Big Sky Country...

Holy Cow, all I want to do is read some books about a British ballet dancer. Why is this so hard? When last we chatted, I had purchased Drina books 1-6, and ILLed 7-11. I recieved emails letting me know that all but the last one, Drina Ballerina, were in. So, before class I went to the library to pick them up...

They've all come from Trinity College in Dublin (?!) which has a "library use only" restriction on all of them!!!!! ARGH!!!!

Anyway, here's a poem. According to My Classical Chinese Book, it's a Tibetan Folk Song. The translation is by yours truly.

Qile River,
Flowing under Yin mountain,
Heaven seems like a yurt,
A basket canopy over the wild prarie.
The sky is azure.
The land is vast and vague.
The wind blows through the grass, bending down to show our cows and sheep.

I hadn't thought about this in years until I read the following passage in The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth by Sun Shuyun, which I reviewed here.

The book is quoting Sangluo, a foot soldier on the Long March who stayed in Tibet when the army crossed it...

On the plateau it was like another world. At first, it seemed peaceful, no planes pounding us, no Nationalists chasing us. But then it was just peculiar. No people, no houses, no roads--just grass, grass, grass up to the horizon, empty of everything except the occasional river snaking through the plain. Event he sky was different, so close, if you shot a bullet it would pierce it. Bright blue like porcelain...


Sara said...

I wonder what the melody is like? If you can sing as well as translate Chinese, I'm pulling your license to live quietly RIGHT NOW. :)

Jennie said...

I have no idea on the melody.

My translation skills are rusty through misuse-- this one is heavily based on the notes I made in the margins of my text book back in the day... nothing made me feel like more of a badass than translating Mencius cold at 8am. I'd like to get back to that at some point.

I can, however sing. And I do it. A lot.

Now singing while translating... next time I see you ask me about my translation of the Beatles "Hello Goodbye"... :)