Chinese Puzzle Box

Explorations in and about China

Alone with the River Apes – Liu ZongYuan


All along the winding stream
The mournful monkeys howl and scream.
The exile’s tears have all run dry;
Heart broken, of what use to cry?


I like the irony of this short poem, as the exiled poet feels compares himself with the apes of the forest, feeling that his tears are as pointless as their howls.

[Looking back, I find I posted this poem and a translation way back in October of 2013Check it out!  I think I got a lot closer with five years more practice on the second try!]


入 溪 猿
ru xi ai
join brook ape

—- 柳宗元
—-Liu Zong Yuan 773-819

xi lu qian li qu
brook road 1000 li bends
The stream bed is long and winding

ai yuan he chu ming
mourning ape where cry out
The mournful howls of apes fill the air

gu chen lei yi jin
Isolated subject tear stop exhausted
The tears of the exile are exhausted

xu zuo duan chang sheng
void make heartbroken sound
In vain are the sounds of heartbreak


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