Monday, December 4, 2017

The Moon, to the tune of Wind in the Pines

Here is another poem to the tune of Wind in the Pines. The theme is the moon (biya) so it has the thematic A-rhyme.

This poem is like a diptych, with the two stanzas of the Wind in the Pines form giving us two starkly different views of the moon. The first stanza describes the moon as an object of beauty, a sphere in space that bathes the world in a cold light. The second stanza abruptly turns to the regret Chang’e feels after being parted from the fertile earth to live out a cold eternity in the vast and empty palaces of the moon.

biya [月],    The Moon
Staatsbibliothek 11.20 (View Online)
untuhun ya bai tana,    From what region of the void is this pearl?
buleku fiyangga,    Mirror-colored,
we-i hungkerehengge,    molded by whom?
5 fosoci, gehun ba ba,    When it shines, everywhere it is bright,
gecen helmen jalu,    full of frost shadows,
muke elden niša,

    replete with water light.

da e simen bakjikan,    Her menstrual flow was once thick,
10 te goidatala,    now, after so long,
ekiyehun erin fulu,    thin times remain.
muheliyen ainu tongga,    How limited is this sphere,
selabun seriken,    happiness is sparse,
seyecun utala.    and regret so plentiful.

Translation Difficulties

e simen. Norman has in-i simen, “menstrual discharge,” which must surely be the same thing, the word in being Chinese 陰, and the word e being the native Manchu word for the feminine principle.

No comments:

Post a Comment