Flower not Flower by Bai Ju Yi (translation)

I remember singing the words of Bai Ju Yi’s poem ‘Flower not Flower’ when I was at school.  It was set as lyrics to a tune.  Although there is much speculation about the meaning of this poem and stories abound regarding the intrigue, I believe the reader must apply herself to the task of deciphering its meaning.  Here I have translated this Tang Dynasty Chinese poem into English:

Flower not Flower by Bai Ju Yi (772 – 846)

Like a flower but not a flower

Like a mist but not a mist

Comes in the dead of night

Goes in the light of day

Enters like a dream in Spring its stay too short

Withdraws like a cloud at dawn without a trace

(c) Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭 2017

花非花。白居易

花非花,霧非霧,夜半來,天明去。

來如春夢不多時,去似朝雲無覓處。

About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Poetry Translation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Flower not Flower by Bai Ju Yi (translation)

  1. arlingwoman says:

    I like the idea of the muse, but it could be so many other things…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sunshine Jansen says:

    I love this one! I always saw it as a metaphor of the creative process — the elusive muse. As my cognition changed ‘elusive’ became something more sinister. So it’s wonderful now to imagine other interpretations. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. angela1313 says:

    Who knows the answer to this riddle? Everyone and no one I think. My immediate reaction is “Sleep!” but as you say it is only speculation. What a wonderful choice. 謝謝榮幸老師

    Like

  4. zdunno03 says:

    Reblogged this on Leonard Durso and commented:
    another gem translated by Mary Tang on her blog Life is But This

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A mysterious riddle, indeed

    Liked by 1 person

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