Wang Wei comes home


zè jìng yīn gōng huái
yōu yīn duō lǜ tái
yīng mén dàn yíng sǎo
wèi yǒu shān sēng lái

mountain path
under the shadow
of sophora trees

and humid
and covered with green moss

yet to be swept
in front of the gate
a guest may come

the old man of the mountains
will perhaps come today

During four years the sophora trees grew large along the Wang river, and the road runs ever farther under their shadow. The poetic play started twelve centuries ago by Wang Wei and Pei Di was continued by us first in English, Spanish and Hungarian, and later, when the subjects and our fellow travelers wished so, also in Italian, Russian, Catalan, Azeri and Turkish, not to mention the languages quoted and translated. But if the old man of the mountains, Wang Wei himself came to us, he could really participate in the conversation only from today on. The path leading to the gate was swept clean before him by Minus273 by opening today the Chinese language version of Río Wang. He writes about it like this in the welcome post of the new blog 辋川诗抄 Wăngchuān shīchāo, “Poems of Wang river”: *

“It was on Language Hat’s blog that I read for the first time about the “Poems of Wang River” – 辋川诗抄 – blog, written by Studiolum and his friends, and the more I read it, the more I grew fond of it. Finally I decided to start to translate it just out of pleasure, and to gradually build from my translations a Chinese version of the blog behind the Great Fire Wall. And I also began to think about why I love this blog so much to take time to translate it and to want to show it to everyone. In this modest introduction to the translation I want therefore to tell you about my reasons to do so.

Probably one reason is that this blog is able to witness again and again about the love of life and beauty. There is not much to speak about this, it is enough to observe the sharp look behind the choice of each picture and to read the fascinating and moving stories, and you will feel the same way I do. Another thing that touched me is the erudite cosmopolitanism.

The Poems of Wang River is not just a cosmopolitan blog, but, to exaggerate a little bit, the Poems of Wang River is cosmopolitanism itself. Wandering all over the world, all the same whether afoot or on mouseback, to discover, to understand, to dissolve the boundaries between “them” and “us”, to seek for the common sources of the distant places and of ourselves – this impulse is a captivating feature of River Wang. And I find particularly rare the sensitivity and complexity with which the Poems of River Wang deals with history, in the manner of a really free person: by forgiving, but not forgetting. Just take a peek into any entry and you will immediately see how Studiolum and his friends never deny the beauty of history in view of the ugliness of history, neither use they the beauty of history to dissimulate the ugliness of history. They examine the injustices of the past not with hatred, but neither make they concession of the basic principles of humanity for the sake of any hypocritical avoidance of conflicts. And if you are, like me, a person who is seeking for a path in the obscurity of mutually conflicting ideas and interpretations of history, then Wang River allows you to find a direction in the flow and eddies of thoughts and to follow it.

Chinese internet, just like the internet in any other language of the world, is still filled with deliberate ignorance and not-necessarily-malevolent prejudices towards the world – no matter whether in the land of “theirs” or “ours”. But a sincere quest to understand the real world through the virtual one has already brought some gain in comparison with the nothing of ten years ago. With this consolation in mind I dedicate myself to translate the poems of Wang River, thereby contributing to my ability to this initial stage of the evolution, and also because I am convinced that information, especially when presented with love and beauty, is always more than just information. In every corner of the unknown land, in each period of the remote history there was always someone whose face was brightened by a warm smile. If the reader by the end of this translation will experience this smile, the warm of the hearth, it is the supreme crown of the translator’s efforts.”

Beyond our deep gratitude and emotion, it is particularly amazing in this introduction that it highlights exactly what we consider as most important in the Poemas del Río Wang, more important than its strong visuality, its many languages, its focus on inaccessible places or anything else that for a European or American eye would be conspicuous for the first sight on the blog.

Our second thought is how great a responsibility is the launching of such a new version. We have already experienced that every new language means a new audience, new criteria and new expectations, so that when writing about the recent past of Mallorca or Hungary, we also have to take into account how it will be understood in Moscow or in Baku. But to write so that we know, it will be interpreted by almost one and half billion potential readers on the other side of the globe, in a completely different culture, is no laughing matter. We will have to try to live up to the task.

We wish the road to be a long one. Full of adventure, full of discovery.

9 comentarios:

Effe dijo...

extraordinary, exciting, enormous!
Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts langues.
I'm thrilled.

walter dijo...

Finding Poemas del Río Wang, also via Language Hat, was an epiphany for me, for the reasons that Minus273 so eloquently describes. May the road be unhurried and full of leaves. I bow to you in gratitude.

Araz dijo...

With special thanks going to minus273 I would like to congratulate all of us! The circle is complete now with the journey started at Wang going back to Wang, but the end of one journey is the start of another one...Studiolum connects our worlds.

Studiolum dijo...

Thank to you all, dear co-authors, and also to those who have not yet commented here, for having established this cosmopolitan air of Río Wang, embracing so many roads from Singapore through the Caucasus to the cafés of Buenos Aires and the highlands of Chile, from Rzhev through Galitsia and Berlin to Positano and Algeria, from Copenhagen through Nagykálló and Constantinople to Jerusalem. I ask you to think over what could be the message of your lands and experiences to China, and write it – much and often.

francesca dijo...

An Italian poet I must have already quoted here, Federico Tavan, wrote this verse:
Ài da stâ dentre al tiô vuoe par jôdeme
(I have to be in your eyes to see myself).

Be this a welcome message to the new eyes and a warm thank you to you all.

pes dijo...

Bhe, lo dico in italiano: auguri, che la strada sia sempre propizia.E' bellissimo quello che fate qui dentro.

Studiolum dijo...

Ma certo: anche l’italiano fa parte des quatre-vingts langues autour de Río Wang. Tante grazie per gli auguri, e benvenuta, sia come lettrice, sia – se vuoi – come autrice.

minus273 dijo...

Thank you, köszönöm, grácias, grazie, merci, təşəkkür edirəm to everybody. Thank you for your kind words, and I hope the translated blog would be enjoyed :)

Studiolum dijo...

感谢加入我们! We also hope so, and with a sound reason, for what is missing from the talent of the authors will be supplemented by that of the translator! :)

And welcome to Río Wang also as an autor. We would be also happy to translate your essays to our languages – although there are only a few languages in which you could not do it yourself.