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Wang Wei – 王维 (王維)

13 janvier 2010
Recently, at my beloved public library, I ran into nice little black hardcover book, translation of a nice collection of poems by 王维 (699–759), poet, musician and painter in Tang dynasty. Very interesting — I am sure you know — many nice, and some especially touching poems, in this (mine, ours…) situation. I feel translation is very good. Why ? Older, with a devoted scholar leaded by a Chinese friend (Chang Yin-nan and Lewis C. Walmsley, Charles E. Tuttle Company ed., 1958, 160p.) Good introduction, emphasizing this translation problem, with a so different, vibrant and evocative language into empirical English that needs much help from bottom of the heart to the poetical side.

I give (show– because I feel you already have this) you just few for now…

129. TO P’EI TI

We have not seen each other…
We have not seen each other for a long time,
At the source of the stream, day after day,
I recall how we used to clasp hands—
Hand in hand, eye to eye—because we had the same heart…
How I grieved when you left so unexpectedly !
That is the way I feel towards you even today—
This mutual love, then—is it deep ?  Or not !


I bar my door: I do not want to go out.
For a long time now I have stayed at home with my thoughts.
Yes, this is the best plan:
Let me urge you also to return to your old retreat,
Where, drunk on country wine, we shall sing.
And smile when reading aloud from the Classics !
That is the way to live !
It banishes the longing for dreams, the haunting ghosts of earth-bound life !


On your departure I dismount, and drink to your health,
I ask: "Where are you going?"
You say, "I have not found the voice of my heart ;
So I shall return to my hermitage in the foothills of the Southern Mountain: there I shall find rest.
There, white clouds sail on forever without exhausting time."


When we go to Yellow Flower Spring,
We usually follow the winding path which wriggles
Along Green River and through the hills in ten thousand turns.
As the crow flies, less than thirty miles.
The bubbling boisterous water roars among scattered rocks ;
There is the colour of tranquility in these deep green pines.
Water chestnuts and gipsy weeds float idly on the water
Reflecting the slashing knives of reeds and rushes…
My heart is pure white as silk—at rest
Like this still and placid stream.
I’m going to stay on this large rock.
And fish ! That’s all I desire.

123. I.

A madman in the kingdom of Ch’u
Never used his head to think seriously about anything.
Hair floating in the wind, wearing neither hat nor sash
He would wander along the southern path signing.
Even Confucius conversing with him
Could not inspire ideas of benevolence or righteousness.
Self-sufficient, he felt no need to ask advice from Heaven ;
Why should he strike the ground with a hoe !
And how he laughed at the recluses who gathered herbs—
What was the sense in a man becoming a hermit !

I understand my dear Yezi, here, I show, not yet deep understanding, but desire to share, not this exact, but this kind of longing, emotions… Yes, my heart is fit for that. I believe…

And I believe also I understand a bit better this question, remember, I ask to you in one of our firsts exchanges on Yahoo! Messenger : as to ponder simultaneous influence, in complex Chinese tradition, of those three major influences : Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian. I will come again and ask again about this, but, for now I see better, like three layers, with image, for analogy. Let me try this : Buddhist is unconscious dealing with death and ultimate destiny, ignoring miserable time ; Taoist is Self (conscious or ego), for wise and benevolent, artifacts and medicine, "qi" ( / ) strength, spiritual, mental and physical ; and Confucian is duties imposed by social image, censure (Surmoi, I don’t know how to say it in English [I think we can find "Superego" in certain texts from Freud]), obligations, to maintain good reputation, not to loose face.

This is an analogy suggested by psychoanalytic theory on internal structures of person. To complete, probably, we have to add essential tension between Sky and Earth (Ch’ien and K’un, in my French translated Yi-King ) making complete similar to Heidegger’s Geviert (fr. quadriparti). Hre we have complementaries and opposites : peasants and spiritual people (but some peasants have enormous wisdom and spiritual powers). Five or four ? But Lao-Tze says "three gave birth to" all "ten thousand beings"… encompassing diversity in universe. Thinking to be continued… or changed !

Love, kiss, touch ! (Oh! My  God!) — Another thing (important) : I find My God Is exactly same as Yours : Is the God of Love !

Your J.

2 commentaires leave one →
  1. LEAVES permalink
    14 janvier 2010 6 h 43 min

    I am so sorry that I can\’t respond your passion for Chinese ancient culture with same passion .Becauce I really dont know how to discuss and talk such so deep and emotional things with non-native language .In English ,I even can\’t express myself very well ,how I can talk about some very professional topic? every time ,when I read some article or book about Chinese ancient literature and culture which wrote by foreigner ,I always feel very strange .as if it is not about Chinses culture ,just the culture or literature or philosophy understand by those foreign scholar themself.Yes,in my opinon ,Chinses culture is really can\’t be understand by western,only can be known,and learned. evern learn as a knowledge ,if dont know how every Chinese Cheracter form from,people can\’t know Chinese culture completely.I think from Chinese Cheracter ,you can find and know the beginning of all the Chinese culture .

  2. LEAVES permalink
    14 janvier 2010 6 h 54 min

    In my opinion ,people can\’t know other country culture just through read book.even dont need read any book,just through see and experience those people how to eating ,drinking ,living(how they build their house,and every manners and customs.habits ,so on,you will know and may be can understand little by little…..

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