Friday, May 11, 2018

Jakdan’s Take on Plum Blossoms

Pages from a manual of plum blossom painting, from Wikimedia.

In this poem, it seems that Jakdan is trying to encourage a dispirited friend. The subject is simultaneously a plum tree and a person, with an inner strength that defies the hardship of winter and emerges before Spring with the first fragrant flowers in the desolate landscape.

nenden ilha be irgebuhe ucun    A Song on Plum Blossoms
Jakdan 8.16
nenden ilha ai colo,    What shall we call the plum blossom?
lo fuo endurin gege,    The fairy lady of Luofu.
tuweri forgon-i tuwabun,    In a winter scene,
tumen ilha-i bonggo,    it is the first of the myriad flowers.
5abai silenggi aga,    Where is the dew and the rain?
niša nimanggi juhe,    Heavy are the snow and the ice.
tuwaci hūwantahūn hada,    When I look, barren are the crags,
šaci olhoho holo,    when I gaze, dry are the valleys.
yaya ilha layapi,    Every flower has withered,
10eiten orho soroko,    and all the grass has yellowed,
geren bujan niohušun,    the forests are naked,
erei teile injehe,

    but this alone is smiling.

butui fangšaha wangga,    A dark, smoky fragrance,
tumin šahūri boco,    a deep, frigid color,
15gecehengge ten beikuwen,    what has frozen is so cold,
ilakangge jing hojo,    what has bloomed is suddenly lovely,
selei cikten sargiyakan,    the iron tree trunks are sparse,
šušu dasiha niokso,    with a purple covering of lichen.
simacuka udu da,    Though solitary its origin,
20dulembuhe aniya fe,    it has passed through ancient years.
gengge gangga simeli,    Wandering alone, spartan,
hūwanta alin-i hošo,    at the edges of the empty mountains,
gaksi manggai bulehen,    with only a crane for companion,
emgi yaka cecike,

    and no other bird.

25buru bara biyai elden,    Hazy is the light of the moon,
bolgo micihiyan muke,    clean is the shallow water,
yadan nimalan hailan,    exhausted are the mulberry and elm,
niyere toro foyoro,    weak are the peach and plum.
ilan šahūrun gucu,    Three cold friends,
30jakdan mailasun cuse,    the pine, cypress and bamboo,
nimanggi-i sasari,    together with the snow,
niyengniyeri be meljere,

    will strive towards Spring.

terei da banin kulu,    Its fundamental nature is strong,
teni emhun enteke,    that is why it is solitary like this.
35ioi ling antu halukan,    The south slope of Yuling is warm,
tuttu nenden fushuhe,    so the plum blossoms have burst open,
yuwan lu jidun soningga,    The north slope of Yuanlu is interesting,
gu šan alin gebungge,    Gūshān [孤山] is renowned,
ho hiowen dergi asari,    The eastern tower of Hexuan,
40inu gebu tucike,    has also become famous.
lu k'ai mukei jugūn ci,    From the road of the Lukai water,
benjihengge hon yobo,    what was brought is quite amusing.
bayan wesihun hafan,    An official of honor and wealth,
tuwaki seci ai šolo,

    wants to see it but has no free time.

45giru gulu de fulu,    In form it is full of innocence,
yangse saikan ci moco,    unskilled at looks and beauty,
banjitai uttu hican,    so frugal by nature,
ainahai tuttu oilo,

    but not so on the outside.

jalan an-i asari,    The tower of the Order of the World,
50saha niyalma geli we,    who still knows of it?
aika niyengniyeri erin,    If everyone is groaning
niyalma tome eyoyo,    for Springtime,
hūwaliyambure šasigan,    it is fair to set for them
terei tebuhe tondo,

    a harmonizing stew.

55kuri kari hacingga,    Dappled and spotted,
yaka šahūrun bongko,    with whatever cold buds,
manggai erere aga,    and the earnestly hoped-for rain,
geli gelere bono,    and also the feared hail,
edun fulgiyeme jaka,    as the wind blows it,
60teci biretei mokto,

    but when it settles, everything is bare.

yasa tuwahai wajiha,    I have seen it with my own eyes,
emu tolgin kumungge,    a dream that is lively.
tuttu wesihun saisa,    Thus, honored gentleman
nenden ilha nioroko,    the plum blossoms have appeared.
65geren wangga gurun de,    In all the countries of fragrance,
erei teile encungge,    this alone is different.
uthai yadahūn saisa,    Just so the poor gentleman,
jalan akdun-i gese,    with the strength of the world,
taifin erin somitai,    hiding away in times of peace,
70mohon fonde serehe,    has appeared in the season of depletion.
banjinjiha baitangga,    A useful one who has come to be born,
tucikede oyonggo,    his coming forth is important.
enduri-i fun beye,    Just like a god,
damu yoo cy-i omo,    only to Yaochi lake,
75wasibume ebufi,    he was sent down, he descended,
jalan tuwakū ojoro,    and takes on a worldly aspect.
ede ucun arafi,    For him I have made a song,
akūmbume henduhe,    and completely recited it.
erin tuwabun serenggeo,    Do we speak of seasons and scenes?
80šumin mujilen noho,    It conceals a deeper thought.
erei adali oci,    If this is similar to it,
yabun hamimbi dere.    I think I have done well enough.

Translation Notes

tumin šahūri boco. I cannot find šahūri in my dictionaries, but I think it must be connected with šahūrun, “cold.”

šušu dasiha niokso. For niokso Norman has a form of algae found on the surface of water, but given the context I think this must refer to lichen on the bark of trees or something similar.

gu šan alin. This seems to be a reference to Gūshān [孤山], where the poet Lín Bū [林逋] was buried. Lín Bū was famously said to have taken “the plum tree as his wife and the crane as his son” [以梅为妻,以鹤为子].

1 comment:

  1. šahūri is probably šahūn "whitish, pale, dull white" followed by the suffix -ri. Gorelova, p.151, gives similar examples: sahahūn "blackish, rather black" > sahahūri "jet black"; sohon "deep yellow" > sohori "bright yellow".