This Poem was Submitted By: G. Donald Cribbs On Date: 2004-07-05 16:02:31 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Jing Ye Si (A Quiet Evening) Chinese Translation

Chuang qian ming yue guang      At the bedpost, only bright moonlight. Yi shi di shang shuang      You doubt; now frost is on the ground. Ju tou wang ming yue      Lift your head, look toward the bright moon. Di tou si gu xiang.      Hang your head, your thoughts are filled with home. Translated from the Chinese, originally by Li Bai. I used "pinyin" which takes English letters to create the sounds for properly pronouncing these Chinese words.  Unfortunately, I am unable to also provide the accent marks to further help in the pronunciation.  If you search google for "jing ye si" there are several sites which will actually read it to you if your computer allows that.

Copyright © July 2004 G. Donald Cribbs

Additional Notes:
After living in China for over a year, teaching English after college, I took a crack at translation with one of the most celebrated Chinese poets, Li Bai (we know him as Li Po). This poem is often read and recited by the youngest elementary students during the Moon Festival, which is near Halloween in America, late October. Since many families are seperated by distances for schooling, work, etc., this poem is especially poignant to the Chinese in evoking the feeling of "home." Enjoy! Don

This Poem was Critiqued By: arnie s WACHMAN On Date: 2004-08-03 19:23:06
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.00000
This is special. As one who has been away from home from a very long time, I can totally relate. Beautiful, melodical, a simple treasure. After all, the same moon shines in all the corners of the earth, and we can still share the view, though miles away. Just a note to say well done.

This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2004-07-31 14:52:25
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Don: Enjoy, I did!! I cannot imagine the difficulty of the task of translation from Chinese to English. Li Po's works are amazingly affecting, and this example may lead many into exploration of this author's luminous writing. I have a favorite author, though as far as I know he has not written poetry: Da Chen, whose memoirs read like poetic prose and evoke intense nostaglia in the reader. Li Po's work here, as translated by you, has an intense beauty, a breath-taking elegance that makes me want to revisit the lines again and again. Compelling, incandescent work, once more. Bravo! More like this? All my best, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2004-07-18 04:09:23
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Don, Amazing and most enjoyable. I don't know Chinese, but I accept the translation. Really learned more with this poem, then I ordinarally, especially the translation. Very well present. The stle of presenting is neat, and very seamingly Chinese feeling. The clarity of the words makes me reminice of the Havvest Moon so well know to me. How many times as a child I searched the face, to understand it roundness and how clear the orb was, always with a mind of the safeness of home, I find the poem to be effective in making the sameness of feel come alive for me. Of course my first love of poetry was Haiku, and I always enjoy the feeling this poetry created for me. So considering all, wonderful translation, and thank you for presenting the poem so clearly, and understandably. Please consider giving of the poetry more and more. Love the chance to see it presented with the Chinese language, and someone like you to be learned enough to grace us....Thank you, good luch. Joanne Morgan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Wayne R. Leach On Date: 2004-07-15 21:19:59
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
I cannot evaluate the translation, only the English version of the poem. I think the poem is excellent in its accurate and concise images and emotions they evoke. Is this a creation that you wrote while in China, or a translation of one of their poems? Anyway, I did enjoy it, for I do find the poets of Japan and China very fascinating (read in English, of course) Therefore, I rely totally on the ability of the translators. You appear to have done it very well. Thanks for the "change of pace", Don.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2004-07-09 14:18:51
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
It is certainly one of the most formidable tasks a writer can have to translate even a word of a language that is not native to the writer. I am happy to see that you have chosen a poem to translate that is not dependant on a place name or concept that is completely new to us, but instead , translated this seemingly simple nature poem by Li Po. I cannot say that I fully understand translations of his work – even the most bucolic of his musings but I think that – given this the humility of restraint in subject – you are probably coming as close as any native English speaker can to the intended meaning. Chuang qian ming yue guang I can only guess at the melody of these words - but they seem chime like At the bedpost, only bright moonlight. Yi shi di shang shuang You doubt; now frost is on the ground. Ju tou wang ming yue Lift your head, look toward the bright moon. Di tou si gu xiang. Hang your head, your thoughts are filled with home. Lovely, Thank, you, Don
This Poem was Critiqued By: Molly Johnson On Date: 2004-07-08 13:38:50
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Don, I don't really know how to critique a translation but I really really like it. The simplicity is completely earnest. I once did a workshop with David Lee and he brought in a Chinese poem and stepped us through the translation, showing us the subtle dualities to the Chinese characters. When we were done we had two very different interpretations. Chinese is such a wealthy language, thanks for sharing your skill. mollyj
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2004-07-08 09:39:10
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
This reads quite lovely in both languages and the images projected are does feel the comfort of home as they read on.......good structure, like the way you did this in both languages and it must have been some experience to there there and learn first hand as well.....thanks for posting and sharing with safe, God Bless, Claire
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