Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Song on Begonia

According to the traditional Chinese solar and lunar calendars, Autumn has already started (though we have a few more weeks till the equinox starts the season in the Western calendar). In Chinese the begonia is called the “Autumn Sea Crab-Apple,” a calque of which becomes the Manchu name, bolori fulana ilha.

Begonias grow in China, but south of the Yellow River basin.

bolori fulana ilha be irgebuhe uculen    A Song on Begonia
Staatsbibliothek 11.75 (View Online)
hojo kai,    She is beautiful,
ilhai endurin,    the fairy of the flower.
bolgo gingge boco fiyan,    Clean and pure of color and hue,
urhu haihū banin wen,    her staggered appearance
5fiyanggai geoden.    is a colorful deception.

Is she drunk?
cira jing fuhun,    Her face suddenly looks angry,
elhe alhai aššan,    her movements are languid.
nilgiyan fiyanggai simelen,    The wetland, brilliant with color,
10buyecuke ten.    is the height of loveliness.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bottle Fish

Whereas the Bird in a Cage was anxious and agitated, this fish is apparently satisfied with its situation.

The title could suggest a fish in a bottle or a fish painted on a bottle.

molu-i nimaha [瓶魚],    Bottle Fish
Staatsbibliothek 11.46 (View Online)
ba na isheliyen,    Its realm is narrow,
daruhai,    but it is always
elehun,    content.
ula bira-i durun,    Like a river or stream,
5dehe aibide,    but where are the fish hooks?
asu seriken,    Nets are scarce,
ele mila mujilen.    and its mind is free and easy.

Translation Notes

molu-i nimaha. The word molu is apparently the same as malu, “liquor bottle.”