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Yuan Z 他们 translation: They

This is one of the poems I’m translating for the bilingual poetry event United Verses. The event has readings of Chinese and English poetry, with translations into both languages.

This is my translation of the poem 他们 (‘They’) by the poet ‘Yuan Z’. There are a few references to the mythology and history of China and Christianity in this poem.

I think the first stanza might be a reference to Moses parting the Red Sea. The second stanza seems to be a reference to the legendary archer 后羿 (Houyi), who shot down nine of the ten suns, leaving us with the one we see today.

I think the next stanza is a reference to Jesus walking on water. Then there’s a reference to the goddess 女媧 (Nüwa), who fixed the sky with stones (this story forms the beginning of the classic 红楼梦 - Dream of the Red Chamber).

I’m wondering if the stanza after that could be a reference to Martin Luther King. In any case, that stanza segues into a reference to Zhuangzi’s (莊子) famous butterfly dream. Finally, the penultimate stanza seems to be another reference to the Christian bible - first to Jesus’ temptation in the desert, and then to the general theme of having whatever you want through faith.

## 他们 他撕开大海 他们才有了未来 他射下九个太阳 于是我们有了光 他行于水面 爱是恒久忍耐 她用五色石修补天空 我不知道为了什么 他宣告世界 自己有一个梦 人人都可以有 你是否相信 蝴蝶飞在他的梦里 而他说他梦见了自己 你可以得到一切 只要你能思考等待 耐得住饥饿 可是他们都没有来过 今天我们这个时代
## They He tears apart the sea; only now do they have a future. He shoots down nine suns, and now we have light. He walks on the surface of water; love is eternal restraint. She uses rainbow stones to mend the sky; I don't know what for. He declares to the world that he has a dream and that everybody can. Do you believe that butterflies fly in his dream, yet he says he dreamt of himself? You can have everything - as long as you can reflect, and wait, and tolerate hunger. But they have never been to our present era.

Comments on the translation are welcome, as always.

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