japonisme: life is but a dream

26 June 2009

life is but a dream


Meng Hao-jan

Translated by Gary Snyder, Kenneth Rexroth and William Carlos Williams


Steering my little boat
towards a misty islet,
I watch the sun descend
while my sorrows grow:
In the vast night the sky hangs lower than the treetops,
But in the blue lake the moon is coming close.

translated by William Carlos Williams


Night on the Great River

We anchor the boat alongside a hazy island.
As the sun sets I am
overwhelmed with nostalgia.
The plain stretches away without limit.
The sky is just above the tree tops.
The river flows quietly by.
The moon comes down amongst men.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth


Mooring on Chien-te River

The boat rocks at anchor
by the misty island Sunset,
my loneliness comes again.
In these vast wilds the sky arches down to the trees.
In the clear river water, the moon draws near.

translated by Gary Snyder

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream. 1

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Anonymous evan said...

just how timeless is art? I thought the top pic was Alex Katz...wrong artist & off by a century...:)

27 June, 2009 09:53  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh evan -- what a good eye you have. i apologise and blame my incorrigibly poor notes. thing is i knew i wasn't positive that was what the cm meant in the name and i went to look it up and got caught up in something else and forgot i was looking!

but thanks for the pointer, i hope your faith in yourself is restored, and i hope i don't have to go commit hara kiri now.

27 June, 2009 12:15  
Anonymous evan said...

LOL...I was perfectly willing to believe it was Carl Moll...just amazed that the two artists had created such similar images! Tho...not sure when/if Carl Moll would have seen a birch bark canoe...ya never know!

27 June, 2009 13:05  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

actually, i had it as carl moser, many of whose prints featured boats and women with white caps and black waistcoats, so at least it was a marginally informed blunder!

27 June, 2009 13:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other Rexroth translations (as well as many of his own writings) are online at http://www.bopsecrets.org/rexroth


28 June, 2009 08:23  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

what an amazing resource -- thank you

28 June, 2009 09:23  
Blogger Diane Dehler said...

I love the timeless quality of this post. So often I feel that I am slipping down a little river on the edge of time.

Are you going to see the King Tut exhibit?

29 June, 2009 23:55  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

how lovely to listen again to your lyrical voice, princess!!

30 June, 2009 10:53  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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