Parting from Wang Wei (after Meng Haoran)


Parting from Wang Wei (after Meng Haoran)

These quiet days are ending
and now I must leave.

I miss my home’s fragrant grasses
but will grieve at parting ā€“ we’ve

eased each other’s burdens on this road.
True friends are scarce in life.

I should just stay there alone, forever
behind the closed gate.

* * *

“Parting from Wang Wei” is included in my micro-chapbook, No Eye But The Moon’s, available via free download at Origami Poems Project.

The transliteration on reads:

Quiet end what wait
Day day must go return
Wish seek fragrant grass go
Grieve with old friend separated
On road who mutual help
Understanding friend life this scarce
Only should observe solitude
Again close native area door


11 thoughts on “Parting from Wang Wei (after Meng Haoran)

  1. I enjoy you translations. You usually include a version that is what I’d call a “literal translation”–one that moves through the work word by word. I also appreciate this as someone who has struggled with the many issues of translation.

    I notice though you use the word “transliteration” to describe this, and I don’t think this word conveys what you are trying to describe. To transliterated is to use the letters of one alphabet to recreate the sound of another. So if you could say the poem in Chinese, then a transliteration of the poem would help me to say those sounds. For example, “ya znayoo” is a transliteration of “I know” from Russian to English. I don’t think it has broader meaning than that. I’d look forward to a correction if I’m wrong.

    Thanks for your work. You seem to enjoy your poetic life. Not many are so fortunate.


    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe we’re both right. Transliteration is often used to describe a literal word for word translation, lacking nuance and perhaps independent of context. In this case, an English representation of the meaning of the Chinese characters (a difficult task). I don’t believe I’m using the word incorrectly, or at the very least I’m following convention as I understand it (and of course my understanding may be flawed).


      • I agree that Robert’s use of transliteration in this context is correct, as there isn’t necessarily a one to one correspondence between characters in an Asian language and letters of the English alphabet, so the individual Chinese characters are converted into entire words or even phrases (with multiple letters, obviously). I would go as far as to say that converting characters to letters only for the purpose only of approximating pronunciation (that is, without the purpose of capturing any element of meaning) is actually transcription, as opposed to transliteration.

        It’s all fascinating, however you look at it, though! šŸ˜Š

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Parting from Wang Wei (after Meng Haoran) – Taka Makombe

  3. Pingback: Found Poem 4 – Melba Christie at Poemattic

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