Poetry from the Tang Dynasty, translated by Joshua Ip

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Poetry from the Tang Dynasty, translated by Joshua Ip

Translation from the Chinese by Joshua Ip

Joshua Ip (translation from Chinese, from the Tang Dynasty)

These are anachronistic translations – the locale is shifted from ancient China to modern Singapore, and the more familiar voices of passing tourists or migrant workers are re-established with familiar sentiments of the ancient poet, whether on loss, alienation, or sorrow.

morning at joo chiat

moon dips below the crowcalls, morning mist
and katong streetlights bowing in repose.
subuh: from masjid khalid’s minaret,
the muezzin’s call reaches the sleeping tourists.

枫桥夜泊【唐朝:张继】

月落乌啼霜满天,

江枫渔火对愁眠。

姑苏城外寒山寺,

夜半钟声到客船。

*

eid al-adha
remembering Sakthivel Kumaravelu

alone. an alien in an alien land.
each festival missed multiplies the missing.
my brother, i heard you tried to board a bus.
this year’s lamb sacrifice—one person missing.

九月九日忆山东兄弟【唐朝:王维】

独在异乡为异客,

每逢 佳节 倍思亲。

遥知兄弟登高处,

遍插 茱萸 少一人。

*

off day

i heard of marina bay, and so i scaled the sands.
this pool that parts the kallang and the other,
and holds the durians and the lotus flower.
no letter this time. old, and sick,
a mastless junk. my home, the thunder of hooves
in my chest, and fifty-seven stories of tears.

登岳阳楼【唐朝:杜甫】

昔闻洞庭水,

今上岳阳楼。

吴楚东南坼,

乾坤日夜浮。

亲朋无一字,

老病有孤舟。

戎马关山北,

凭轩涕泗流。

***

Joshua Ip is a Singaporean poet, editor and literary organizer. He has published four poetry collections, edited ten anthologies, and co-founded Sing Lit Station, an over-active literary charity. His latest collection of anachronistic translations of Tang Poetry, translations to the tanglish, is forthcoming with Math Paper Press in late 2021.

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