Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Sled

I’ve been laboring over a Jakdan poem on snow, but needed to take a break, so here’s another fun Staatsbibliothek poem. As it happens, this weekend I went sledding in the mountains, so it’s seasonally quite appropriate.

This poem is composed of four couplets with seven-syllable lines and an A-rhyme. The sled portrayed in this poem seems to have wooden struts (mooi bangtu) and iron runners (selei siren), perhaps something like the sleds shown in the image below, which comes from an article at kaiwind.com.

huncu [冰床] be irgebuhengge    Verses on the Sled
Staatsbibliothek 14.2 (View Online)
sejen jahūdai waka    Neither cart nor boat,
mukei oilo icangga,    but comfortable on the surface of the water.
tecenduci jalupi    We sat together and filled it up,
yaburede hahiba    and when we went it was quick.
5 mooi bangtu garsa nio    Aren’t the wooden struts clever?
selei siren nilhūn ya    The iron runners are slick indeed!
jugūn akū yun akū    With neither road nor track,
elemangga hafu ja.    it nonetheless gets through easily.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Ice Skates

A couple of weeks ago I went ice skating for the first time in my life, so now seems like a good time to post this poem.

What I like about this one is that its topic is fun and everyday. I have searched the Sou-Yun database for any similar Chinese poem on ice skates, but I have not found one.

I wrestled with whether the poet was the skater, or whether it was addressed to another person. The important difference, to me, is whether the poem was intended to mock another person or to be humorously self-deprecating. I decided to read it as the latter because of the uttu at the beginning, “like this,” which seems like it would more likely have been tuttu if describing another person.

nisukū-i [冰鞋] uculen    A Little Song on Ice Skates
Staatsbibliothek 14.3 (View Online)
hūdun ai uttu,    I am so quick,
garsangga,    agile,
ildamu,    elegant,
sururengge ben fulu,    most capable at amusing people,
5sain ubu,    first-class,
bonggo uju,    the pinnacle of excellence,
anahūnjan jai akū,    and second to none in modesty.
gelesu,    Careful!
tuhekede —    When I fall —
10amba injeku.    it is very funny.