classical-japanese.net

  Dear Friends,
today I invite you for a side-trip in classical Chinese poetry. But dont worry if you dont read Mandarin; you will see there is not a single character in this poem which is not used also in Japanese with roughly the same meaning.

The poem is from Li Bai (Li Po), the most famous poet of the Tang dinasty, who lived from 701 to 762 AD. Yeah, quite a long time ago, you could say... The poem is also very famous, often quoted as an example of the perfection of the Tang poetry. It appeared in an ancient anthology: "300 Tang poems", as no. 233.


    

    

    
    Ͼ
    Ƭ˾
    Ƭ׸ζ
My humble translation:

Before my bed, the moonlight shines,
Could it be the frost, covering the ground?
I raise my head, look at the bright moon,
I set back, and think of my native land.
( Pinyin: li3 ) : plum, also a common surname in China.
Eg. it is the 'Lee' in Bruce Lee

( li3 bai2 ) - Li Bai or Li Po, a famous Tang poet.

( chuang2 ) yuka : means 'floor' in Japanese, but it is 'bed' in Chinese.

( shi4 ) kore : this, so.
In Chinese, it is used as 'is' (to be) in English

( shuang1 ) shimo : frost. An important word if you read poetry!

ζ ( gu4 xiang1 ) furusato : homeland, hometown.




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