Friday, July 13, 2018

Fishing, a poem that appears twice

The three fascicles of Manchu poetry in the Staatsbibliothek manuscript have different characters, which suggests to me that they are really three separate collections. SB 4 contains longer works with a greater emphasis on couplet poems, while SB 11 is almost exclusively made up of -style poems, and SB 14 has a mix of the two styles. The poem below is (I think) the only poem that can be found in more than one fascicle, appearing as SB 11.1 and SB 14.30.

It is also interesting because it seems to use pivot lines similar to those used in Japanese tanka. These are lines that could make sense either with the lines above them or the lines below. For example, mini boo looks like a turning line:
tugi mukei ba / mini boo
A place of clouds and water is my home. 
mini boo / ya falga
In what quarter is my home?
And similarly, the line ula tenggin hūi ciha:
mini boo / ya falga / ula tenggin hūi ciha
In what quarter is my home? Wherever I please among the rivers and lakes.
ula tenggin hūi ciha / asu maktara
I will cast my net wherever I please among the rivers and lakes.
In my translation I couldn’t find a way to recreate the pivot lines without making a hash of the poem, so I chose a simple reading.

nimaha butarangge [漁]    Fishing
Staatsbibliothek 11.1 (View Online)
tugi mukei ba,    A place of clouds and water.
mini boo,    In what quarter
ya falga,    is my home?
ula tenggin hūi ciha,    Among rivers and lakes, wherever I please,
5asu maktara,    I will cast my net.
nimaha niša,    The fish are plentiful,
nure hūlašacina,    I hope I can trade them for wine.
wei sasa,    Who am I with?
nurei hoki --    The companions of wine —
10 bele edun biya.    Rice, wind and moon.

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