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Classical Chinese

023 綦毋潛 春泛若耶溪 translation: Spring Drifting on Ruoye Creek, by Qiwu Qian

This is a rough translation and annotation of the poem 春泛若耶溪 (Chūn Fàn Ruòyé Xī), ‘Spring Drifting on Ruoye Creek’, by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet 綦毋潛 (Qíwú Qián).

若耶溪 is to the south-east of Shaoxing in modern Jiangsu Province.

春泛若耶溪 Chūn Fàn Ruòyé Xī [spring] [drift] [Ruo] [Ye] [creek] Spring Drifting on Ruoye Creek

幽意無斷絕, Yōu yì wú duàn jué, [secluded] [thought] [not have] [sever] [cut] Secluded thoughts are without end;

此去隨所偶。 cǐ qù súi suǒ ǒu. [here] [go] [follow] [which] [random] here one goes with happenstance. (It’s tempting to translate this as “go with the flow”.)

晚風吹行舟, Wǎn fēng chūi xíng zhōu, [Evening] [wind] [blow] [go] [boat] An evening breeze blows the boat onwards;

花路入溪口。 huā lù rù xī kǒu. [flower] [road] [enter] [creek] [mouth] by a flowery path one enters the creek.

際夜轉西壑, Jì yè zhuǎn xī hè, [boundary] [night] [turn] [west] [ravine] On the edge of night, turning west into a ravine;

隔山望南斗。 gé shān wàng nán dǒu. [separate] [mountain] [look at] [south] [dou] over mountains, looking at the Dipper constellation.

潭煙飛溶溶, Tán yān fēi róng róng, [pool] [smoke] [fly] [dissolve] [dissolve] The mists of a pool whirl and dissipate;

林月低向後。 lín yuè dī xiàng hòu. [forest] [moon] [low] [toward] [behind] the forest moon drops low behind.

生事且彌漫, Shēng shì qiě mí màn, [life] [affair] [moreover] [extensive] [overflow] The matters of life also inundate;

願爲持竿叟。 yuàn wèi chí gān sǒu. [desire] [be] [hold] [bamboo pole] [old man] one wishes to be an old man holding a bamboo pole. (持竿叟 means “a fisherman”.)

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