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Translation of “Tree on the Bluff” by Zeng Zhuo 曾卓“悬崖边的树”英译

November 21, 2012

“Tree on a Bluff” by Zēng Zhuō (1922-2002)

Rhyming loose translation

I know not what wind brought this tree
to this flatland’s edge on the bluff;
She listens for the far forest’s clamor
And signing of streams in the rough

It stands by itself all alone
Looking obstinate, and lonely;
Its body a mass of tangles,
Wind-twisted, bony.

It keeps the shape of the wind,
seems about to cave in,
and yet soon to spread wings and take flight.

2012.11.18 evening
Shanghai

Literal translation

I do not know what strange wind

blew a tree over there——

the end of a plain

on a crag overlooking the valley

It listens closely to the clamor of a far forest

and the singing of streams in the valley

It stands there alone

looking obstinate, and forlorn

Its crooked body

retains the shape of the wind

It looks ready to fall off into the valley

and yet about to spread wings and take flight……

1970

Original poem

悬崖边的树

曾卓

不知道是什么奇异的风

将一棵树吹到那边—–

平原的尽头

临近深谷的悬崖上

它倾听远处森林的喧哗

和深谷中小溪的歌唱

它孤独的站在那里

显得寂寞而又倔强

它的弯曲的身体

留下了风的形状

它似乎即将跌进深谷里

却又像要展翅飞翔……

一九七〇年

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