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雨中游天竺灵感观音院 Visiting Guanyin Temple at Tianzhu

雨中游天竺灵感观音院

原作: 苏轼(字子瞻, 号东坡居士; 11世纪北宋)

旧版英译:戈登.奥赛茵, 闵晓红, 黄海鹏(1990)

新版英译及赏析: 闵晓红(2023)


蚕欲老,麦半黄,

山前山后水浪浪。

农夫辍耒女废筐,

白衣仙人在高堂。


Visiting Guanyin Temple at Tianzhu


written by: Su Shi (11th AC, social name 'Dongpo')

old En. trans. by: G. Osing, J. Min & H. Huang (1990)

new En. trans.+annot. by: Julia Min ( Feb. 2023)


It’s time the silkworms made their cocoons,

And the wheat started turning yellow.

But the rain pour down soaking the hills,

No man is farming, no woman’s basket filled,

Yet, the goddess in white sits perfectly still.


Notes:

1. Guanyin: a Boddhisa from India worshipped by Chinese all over the world. Guanyin was well-established in China during the Song Dynasty as a feminine deity. In her left hand, she holds a water vessel filled with the divine nectar of compassion that possesses special healing properties. In her right hand she has a small willow branch, which she uses to gently sprinkle the divine nectar on those to save them from sufferings. This temple was the venue where the Song emperors attend the rituals and was believed to be efficacious, which could be reason why Guanyin became a most revered diety in the Chinese mind ever since the Song Dynasty.

2. Tianzhu: Mt Tianzhu. The temple is on the south side of Mt Tianzhu in Hangzhou’s West Lake area. The name Tianzhu is associated with India.


Appreciation:

This little poem was written in 1072, when the New Law was enacted across the country. It was a hasty effort causing chaos and disorder among the official venues as well as the farmers. Su Shi was not against reforms but couldn’t accept the reckless pace and the unqualified officials put in place for the practice. Instead of debating in the Royal Court, he asked to be sent to a post closer to see what’s really happening in the country. So here he was, as the governor of Hangzhou, inspecting the flooded farming area. Again he took a political stand by the farmers, the common people. This poem sounds heavy with sarcasm, a warning call to the New Party in hope of their attention to the injustice.


Reference:

1. Blooming Alone in Winter by Gordon Osing, Julia Min and Huang Haipeng,published by the People's Publication House Henan Province in 1990 (《寒心未肯随春态》戈登.奥赛茵,闵晓红,黄海鹏) ("It’s time the silkworms made cocoons, for yellow wheat in the fields,/But waters pour down on waters pouring down from the hills./And no man is ploughing, not one woman’s basket is filled,/Yet the high temple goddess sits sleeping or perfectly still.)


3. pictures from Google;

 




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