Overnight on a River by Tang Xian Zu (translation)

I met up with my old friends Jan, Ross and Sue yesterday and we had a picnic in the Botanic Gardens after attending a concert at Sydney Conservatorium of Music.  It was Jan’s birthday.  Ross told me how he’d enjoyed reading my translations of the classical Chinese poems and I told him that I needed a break from the Tang and Song Dynasty.

This morning I ate the leftover sandwiches that Jan made and after reading some Ming Dynasty poems decided to translate this one by Tang Xian Zu (1550 – 1616), a famous playwright who was the Chinese counterpart of William Shakespeare.

So Jan and Ross, this one is for you.

Overnight on a River by Tang Xian Zu

Fishermen’s fires are few on these stilly autumn waters

I rose to see a broken moon bathing trees with feeble light

The ripples shine as the waterfowls stir and settle

While the fireflies refuse to fly in this dew wet night

(c) Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭 2017




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.
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8 Responses to Overnight on a River by Tang Xian Zu (translation)

  1. Glorious – beautifully rendered by you, Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oglach says:

    A very beautiful image.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Feeble’ is a nice descriptive choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, more Ming! My knowledge doesn’t go much past Cao Xueqin and I’ll be investigating more Tang Xian Zu… We love it when you start to get bored; new ground for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. arlingwoman says:

    Wow. This is a painting.

    Liked by 2 people

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