Translating the Longer Chinese Poem: Back to Basics

Introduction: Points to Bear in Mind

I have given some reasons why current translation practices of pre-modern Chinese poetry tend to produce pedestrian nullities. We need something that will preserve the important elements of pre-modern Chinese poetry, and also give us something worth reading, i.e. illuminate the Chinese elements of the original, conveying their specific excellences. Summing up the previous pages, we should bear in mind:

1. Chinese poetry was an intensely traditional pursuit, written in a literary language that by Tang times was a 'dead language', i.e. different from the oral language of everyday use. Many characters are stock phrases, moreover, or shorthand for familiar themes (e.g. clouds floating through the sky for the wanderer, and waterplants signifying separation, etc.) Both features, the intrinsic nature of Chinese verse and its use of stock phrases, argue for translation into traditional English verse, as only traditional verse is fully coterminous with earlier styles and uses its own 'shorthand' (heart, over the seas, bright morning, etc.). Equally strongly, both these features argue against Modernish styles, which are anti-traditional, avoiding earlier styles and moving the goal-posts to themes and expressions not previously considered suitable for poetry. Grossly simplifing, Modernist poetry discards tradition to find fresh pastures, while traditional poetry gathers up the past to interpret the present.

2. The classical Chinese poem is still governed by grammar as any other Chinese text, but the expression is much pithier, with inessential words omitted and some ambiguity allowed or even courted. Chinese grammar is very different from English, however, being not only bound by different rules but different conceptions altogether. Many of our adverbs and adjectives, and indeed relative clauses, are created in Chinese by verbs, for example, though these must follow tacit rules if we are to read ‘moon over mountain is bright’ correctly from the characters of 'mountain', 'moon' and 'to_shine' rather than 'moon shines on mountain', etc. {1}

3. Chinese poetry distinguishes between full words and empty words. The first, also called content words, are nouns, verbs and adjective that carry the main semantic content. The second, the empty words, simply denote grammatical relationships.

4. The basic unit in a pre-modern Chinese poem is the couplet, not the individual line or character. {2} We should discount Ezra Pound's claims here: he couldn't read Chinese. {3}.Chinese verse couplets can be 'free ranging' in theme, as they commonly are in the opening couplets of a poem, but may also run in parallel, when the same thought is expressed different ways or with different imagery. The verse couplet is also a feature of English poetry, we should note, and this is commonly rhymed. Chinese poetry is also rhymed, indeed far more than English poetry, but often employs the same rhyme for the whole poem, though these rhymes are looser than ours: see below.

As a consequence of the above, when stripped of intricacies of meaning in word order, of tonal patterns, and of complex allusions, 'faithful' translations of Chinese poems are apt to dwindle into trivialities, into lines that are dull, flat and banal. How we cope with such problems I'll suggest in due course.

Zhang Ruoxo: Versifying a Prose Translation

Suppose we have a longish poem to render in an acceptable literary form, say the Tang poet Zhang Ruoxo's 'A Night of Blossom and Moonlight on the Yangtse in Springtime'. The Chinese (Mandarin) is: {4}


春江花月夜


1. 春江潮水连海平,

海上明月共潮生。

滟滟随波千万里,

何处春江无月明!

 

5. 江流宛转绕芳甸,

月照花林皆似霰。

空里流霜不觉飞,

汀上白沙看不见。


江天一色无纤尘,

10. 皎皎空中孤月轮。

江畔何人初见月?

江月何年初照人?

 

人生代代无穷已,

江月年年望相似。

15.不知江月待何人,

但见长江送流水。

 

白云一片去悠悠,

青枫浦上不胜愁。

谁家今夜扁舟子?

20. 何处相思明月楼?

 

可怜楼上月徘徊,

应照离人妆镜台。

玉户帘中卷不去,

捣衣砧上拂还来。

 

25. 此时相望不相闻,

愿逐月华流照君。

鸿雁长飞光不度,

鱼龙潜跃水成文。

 

昨夜闲潭梦落花,

30. 可怜春半不还家。

江水流春去欲尽,

江潭落月复西斜。

 

斜月沉沉藏海雾,

碣石潇湘无限路。

35. 不知乘月几人归,

落月摇情满江


We can run the text through an online code translator like Google or Yandex Translate, but the result is close to gibberish:

1. Spring River tide even sea level,
Sea moon tide.
Yan Yan with the waves of thousands of miles,
where the Spring River no moon!

5. The river turns around fangdian,
the moon shines like a graupel.
The frost in the air does not feel flying,
Ting on the white sand can not see.

Jiangtian color without dust,
10. bright air solitary moon wheel.
Who first saw the moon on the river?
Jiang Yue, what is the beginning of the photo?

Life has been Infinite from generation to generation,
Jiang Yue year similar expectations.
15. I do not know who the river to be,
but see the Yangtze River to send water.

A piece of white clouds to long,
Qingfeng PU on the worry.
Who's gonna run the boat tonight?
20. Where Acacia Moon House?

Poor upstairs Moon wandering,
should shine away from the makeup mirror.
Jade curtain roll does not go,
smashing anvil whisk back.

25. At this time do not look at each other to hear,
is willing to month by month Hua liuzhao Jun.
Hong geese long flying light is not degree,
Ichthyosaurus leaping water written.

Last night idle pool dream falling flowers,
30. poor spring half did not return home.
River water flow spring to want to do,
 river pool fall Moon complex west slope.

Oblique Moon heavy Tibetan sea fog,
jieshi Xiaoxiang Infinite Road.
35. I do not know by the moon a few people return,
the Moon shake love full of river.

As we have noted, Chinese poetry often lacks the 'non-content' words to make full sense.  Happily, however, Archie Barnes gives a very acceptable rendering, {5}  from which it's not too difficult to versify in loose hexameters rhymed xaxa, xbxb, xcxc, etc.

The tide on the springtime Yangtze reaches to the sea,
and from the sea, and level with it, floats the moon,
buoyant, flooding in a thousand miles, so there
is nowhere on this river that its light’s not strewn.

5. Sinuous the river, circles fragrant fields;
and moonlight fills the blossoming trees like frozen rain.
Indistinct, a hazy hoar-frost is the air,
and white of islet sands seems lost in murk again.

Clear the sky above the river, brilliant too
10. the moon that’s slowly to her lonely path inclined.
Who saw the moon the first from this same river spot?
What years was it the moon first shone on human kind?

The life of us poor humans goes always on the same,
unchanging as the moon is, year and month and day.
15. Who then, I wonder, is the bright moon waiting for?
I only see the Yangtze waters flowing on their way.

By now a small white cloud has dwindled out of sight:
such unbearable longings in river maples brim.
In what frail craft tonight is the far traveller lodged,
20. and on whose moon-lit balcony does she wait for him?

And lovely on that balcony the moon is lingering
and must be shining on the dressing table there:
how lonely is that light the blinds won’t roll away,
and the small tasks of laundry are instinct with care.

25. Both gazing on the moon, but gain no news from that.
I wish I could be moonlight that brings its shine to hers.
It’s far the wild geese fly but not as moonlight does,
and dragon and fish play but are poor messengers.

Last night, by a quiet pool, I dreamed of fallen flowers:
30. how sad at this full spring my heart still has no rest.
The river has carried the spring away until it’s almost gone.
Again the moon hangs low over the Yangtze in the west.

The slanting moon falls heavily into the sea-bourn mist.
North to south and endless, the path the traveller sees.
35. How many are now travelling by this one moon as guide?
The heart is entangled as the moonlight in the trees.


Here we have simply extended our previous approach to Li Bai's Sending Off Meng Haoran to Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower {6} from the seven character quatrain (Jueju poetry) to the much longer one here. But this clearly isn't the way forward. The hexameter is always a difficult form in English, and has become shambling and heavy when applied to this extended Chinese seven-character-per-line Shi (unregulated) poetry. Tighter rhyming doesn't help, and indeed brings its own problems {7}:

The tide on the springtime Yangtze comes welling from the sea.
It bears the bright moon on, level with the tide,
flooding in with the waves, ten thousand miles, to be
something that these springtime waters cannot hide.

On, past fragrant meadows, encircling waters flow,
that when the moonlight shines the trees look frozen rain,
the air itself assumes the hoar-frost’s hazy glow,
and white of island beach sands is not seen again.

And so on. But there's no 'magic' to work on here. We could certainly 'improve' on these lines as English verse, but only, I suspect, by making them even less like the original Chinese.
 

Word-for-Word Renderings


The answer, I think, is to get back to the individual words. We need to first translate literally, and then surrender to the images suggested. The pinyin and the word-for-word rendering of the above are:

chūn jiāng cháo shuǐ lián hǎi píng ,          spring river tide water connect_with sea level
hǎi shàng míng yuè gòng cháo shēng 。   sea above bright moon together_with tide bear
yàn yàn suí bō qiān wàn lǐ ,                    flood follow wave thousand myriad li
hé chǔ chūn jiāng wú yuè míng !            what place spring interval is_not moon bright

5. jiāng liú wǎn zhuǎn rào fāng diàn ,       river flow winding round fragrant meadow
yuè zhào huā lín jiē sì xiàn 。                    moon shine flower forest all like frozen_rain
kōng lǐ liú shuāng bù jué fēi ,                   empty inside hoar_frost not that float
tīng shàng bái shā kàn bù jiàn 。               islet surface white sand look_at not see

jiāng tiān yī sè wú xiān chén ,                 river sky one colour be_unending dust
10. jiǎo jiǎo kōng zhōng gū yuè lún 。        brilliant void among lonely moon wheel
jiāng pàn hé rén chū jiàn yuè ?                river side what man first_time see moon
jiāng yuè hé nián chū zhào rén ?             river moon what year first_time shine man

rén shēng dài dài wú qióng yǐ ,               man year generation generation to_be end
jiāng yuè nián nián zhĭ xiāng sì 。              river moon year year only miss_him resemble
15. bù zhī jiāng yuè dài hé rén ,              not understand river moon wait_for what man
dàn jiàn cháng jiāng sòng liú shuǐ 。           only see river_yangtse see_off flow water

bái yún yī piàn qù yōu yōu ,                   white cloud one piece leave far_off
qīng fēng pǔ shàng bù shèng chóu 。       green maple river_bank above not bear sadness
shuí jiā jīn yè piǎn zhōu zǐ ?                   who home today night piece boat you_sir
20. hé chǔ xiāng sī míng yuè lóu ?         what place she long_for moon building

kě lián lóu shàng yuè pái huái ,               may curtain building above moon hesitate
yīng zhào lí rén zhuāng jìng tái 。             ought_to shine someone_separated dressing_table
yù hù lián zhōng juàn bù qù ,                  jade window curtain among roll_up not leave
dǎo yī zhēn shàng fú huán lái 。               pound rest_on block on brush_off return come

25. cǐ shí xiāng wàng bù xiāng wén ,      this time long_for gaze not long_for hear
yuàn zhú yuè huá liú zhào jūn 。               wish follow moon splendour shine you
hóng yàn cháng fēi guāng bù dù ,          wild_geese be_long fly light not leave
yú lóng qián yuè shuǐ chéng wén 。          fish dragon dive leap water by_light_of ripples
 
zuó yè xián tán mèng luò huā ,              yesterday night quiet pool dream fall flowers
30. kě lián chūn bàn bù huán jiā 。           be_pitiable spring half_way not return house
jiāng shuǐ liú chūn qù yù jìn ,                  river water flow spring leave want_to reach_end
jiāng tán luò yuè fù xī xié 。                     river pool fall moon again west slant

xié yuè chén chén cáng hǎi wù ,             slant moon sink_heavily hide sea mist
jié shí xiāo xiāng wú xiàn lù 。                  ‘standing_stone’ ‘xiāo xiāng’ without limit road
35. bù zhī chéng yuè jī rén guī ,             not understand by_light_of moon how-much man return
luò yuè yáo qíng mǎn jiāng                      fall moon disturb feelings full river tree

Analysis

It's always unwise in translation to work from previous renderings, and Chinese is no exception. As Archie Barnes emphasises, matters are rarely fully spelled out in Chinese verse, {8} and we have to meet its authors half-way. {9} We should note how simple the poem is, which affords it a quiet sincerity. It is Shi poetry, with parallelism, but not regulated Shi: many words are repeated, particularly moon (月, yuè) and bright (, míng ). A few lines also need some explanation: {5}

line15: see off: the custom was to accompany departing friends for some way on their journey.
line19: emphasis is on frail boat, exposed to hazards of travel.
line 23: jade is a reference to the woman, her beauty or quality. The window would be covered by cloth or bamboo slats: the image is of distant intimacy.
line 24: the reference is to a fulling block, on which women prepared clothes for the winter.
line 27: wild geese serve as free travellers in Chinese poetry, and also as messengers.
line 28: fish and dragons have their mythologies, but here simply mean water creatures. The 'ripples' are a pun on 'letter'.
line 34: between north and south the road is endless.

Now we must look at the structure. As we noted in the Tao Yao poem, {10} lines are arranged in one of two ways, as subject plus predicate (sp) or as topic plus comment (tc). Where the subject is only implied and not stated I have shown the 'clause' as ns. Where the object of the verb is missing (i.e. verb is intransitive) I have shown as no. Tone arrangements don't apply because the poem is not regulated Shi, but the lines, even in this poem, which is not tightly organised, do form couplets which are either free or in parallel in theme, as we noted with Du Fu's Spring Prospect. {11} . To assist identification I have put the active verbs  {12} in brackets and bold type. The structure is then:



tc tc sp tc                  free                  spring river tide (water connect_with sea) level
tc tc tc no                  free                  sea above bright moonlight together_with tide (bear)
sp tc tc tc                  free                  (flood follow wave) thousand myriad li
tc tc no tc                  free                   what place spring (interval is_not moon) shining

5. no tc tc tc              parallel              (river flow) winding round fragrant meadow
sp tc tc tc                  parallel              (moon shine flower) forest all like frozen_rain
tc tc tc no                  parallel               empty inside hoar_frost not that (float)
tc tc tc ns                  parallel               islet surface white sand (look_at not see)

tc tc sp tc                  parallel               river sky one (colour be_unending dust)
10. tc tc tc no            parallel                brilliant void among lonely (moon wheel)
tc tc tc sp                  parallel                river side what man first_time see moon
tc tc tc sp                  parallel                river moon what year first_time shine man

tc tc tc no                 parallel                  man year generation (generation to_be end)
tc tc ns no                 parallel                  river moon year year only (miss_him) (resemble)
15. ns tc no tc           parallel                  not understand river moon wait_for what man
tc no tc no                 parallel                  only see river_yangtse see_off flow water

tc tc no tc                parallel                   white cloud one (piece leave) far_off
tc tc tc sp                parallel                   green maple river_bank above (not bear sadness)
tc tc tc tc                 parallel                   who home today night piece boat you_sir
20. tc sp tc tc          parallel                    what place (she long_for) moon building

tc tc tc no                free                       may curtain building above (moon hesitate)
ns tc tc tc                free                       ought_to shine someone_separated dressing_table
tc tc tc no                free                       jade window curtain among roll_up (not leave)
sp no no no              free                       (pound rest_on block) on (brush_off) (return) (come)

25. tc ns ns ns        free                         this time (long_for) gaze not (long_for) (hear)
ns ns tc ns              free                         (wish) (follow moon) splendour (shine you)
tc tc no no              free                        (wild_geese be_long fly) (light not leave)
no no tc tcv             free                        ((fish dragon dive) ( leap)) water by_light_of ripples
 
tc tc ns ns               free                        yesterday night quiet pool (dream) (fall flowers)
30. ns tc ns tc         free                        (be_pitiable) spring half_way not (return) house
tc no no ns              free                        river (water flow) (spring leave) (want_to reach_end)
tc no tc tc                free                        river pool (fall moon) again west slant

tc no sp tc               free                        slant moon (sink_heavily( (hide sea) mist
tc tc tc tc                 free                       ‘standing_stone’ ‘xiāo xiāng’ without limit road
35. ns tc tc ns           parallel                  not (understand) by_light_of moon how-much man return
no ns tc tc                parallel                  (fall moon) (disturb feelings) full river tree

If this is anything like correct, we see that poem opens with 2 free couplets, follows with 8 parallel couplets, continues with 7 free couplets, and concludes with 1 parallel couplet — i.e. it's fairly balanced and conventional in this respect.

Translation


Translations serve many purposes, {13} and we have to decide now what our aims are. I suggest we make our translation essentially recreational (and only secondarily interpretative). On the thorny subject of rhyme, {7} I suggest we rhyme lines 2 and 4, 6 with 8, etc., which is the practice in this poem and common in Chinese poetry. Certainly there are hazards with rhyming, as mentioned above. Here, by way of illustration, are two translations of a well-known poem by Li Shangyin's The Painted Zither. {14} The first is by Xu Yuanzhong and faultlessly, indeed beautifully, rhymed:

Why should the zither sad have fifty strings?
Each string, each strain evoke but vanished springs :
At dawn the dream to be a butterfly;
At dusk the heart poured out in cuckoo's cry.
In moonlit pearls see tears of mermaid's eyes;
From sunburnt jade in Blue Field let smoke rise!
Such feeling cannot be recalled again,
It seemed long-lost e' en when it was felt then.

The second is by James J.Y. Liu, and is not rhymed:

The richly painted zither, for no reason, has fifty strings;
Each string, each bridge, recalls a burgeoning year.
Master Chuang, dreaming at dawn, was confused with a butterfly;
Emperor Wang consigned his amorous heart in spring to the cuckoo.
By the vast sea, the moon brightens pearls' tears;
At Indigo Field, the sun warms jade that engenders smoke.
This feeling might have become a memory to be cherished,
But for that, even then, it already seemed an illusion .

Both have their strengths, but on balance I prefer the second, sensing a little too much that sense in the first is being led by the rhymes.

That said, rhyme is still 'an important element in the fusion of sense and sound that constitutes poetry. No mere ornament in versification, rhyme performs significant artistic functions. Structurally, it unifies and distinguishes units within a poem. Semantically, it can serve to enhance or ironise sense. Emotively, it sets up pleasing resonances that deepen artistic appeal. And prosodically, rhyme can be seen as the keynote in a melody: rhyme is a modulator of pace and rhythm, while rhyme change can mark a turn of rhythm and sense in a long poem.' {7}

Beyond that (and the reason for the extended analysis above), we shall aim to disclose 'the logical relationship of each component of the poem [which] is the soul of a good translation.' {15}

1. The tide wells in, this Yangtze spring,
        that stretches level to the sea:
2. these two elements, sea and moon,
        are brought together by the tide.
 3. in wave on wave the moonlight floods
        across a myriad thousand miles.
4. So blooms the moon in spring,
        there is no place for her to hide.

5. Round and round the Yantgse turns,
          encircling fragrant river-lands.
6. On flowering trees the moonlight falls,
         and shows their leaves as frozen rain.
7. The intervening air is pale
        and thin with hoar-frost's misty haze.
8. The scattered isles of sandy white
         are lost into the mist again.

9. The sky above the river seems
       unvariegated, clear of dust,
10. and brilliant in the void, the moon
       is wheeling slowly, dumb and blind.
11. What man was first to see the moon
       from this same stretch of river bank?
12. What year was it when first the moon
        shone in splendour on mankind?

13. Our human life goes on, unending
        generation to generation.
14. The moon but follows that same course,
        the years on years do not delay.
 15. I do not know for whom the moon
        is waiting or is seeing off.
16. I only see the Yangtse flow
        and send its waters on their way.

17. That white cloud, the travelling man,
       is small and dwindles till it's lost.
18. And on the bank, the maples find
        the sadness is unbearable.
19. On what frail craft must this one man
        be housed tonight so far from home?
20. On what far house and woman there
        must moon exert its hurtful pull?

21. And in that curtained window there
        the high-up moon will linger on,
22. and on that separated one   
        and dressing table it will stay.
23. Beautiful, it has its say,
        nor can the curtain shut it out.
24. And on the fulling-block it falls
        and not for long is brushed away.

25. We both are gazing with the same
        togetherness that brings no news.
26. I wish I merged with that bright light
       the splendid moonlight can confer.
27. the wild geese fly, but bring no blaze,
       nor do they reach to spring's far end.
28. The fish and dragons dive and leap
       but neither serves as messenger.

29. Last night and by a quiet pool
       I dreamt of falling flowers there;
30. How sad I shan't be going home
       although we've half-way through the spring:
31. the water swelling with the spring
       has reached its end and ebbs away
32. on Yangtse pools the moon now sets
       low in the sky and westering.

33. How heavily the moonlight slants
        until it's lost in sea-borne thin mists.
34. From north to south a road that goes
        on endlessly, we cannot miss.
35. How many going home tonight
        are travelling by this self-same moon
36. that's now entangled in the trees
        as is my heart disturbed at this.

Final Draft


We now have to:

1. Check we've encompassed the meaning properly.
2. Ensure our couplets echo the original's parallelism sufficiently (parallel 5-20 and 35-6)
3. Correct any infelicities, and
4. Tighten the phrasing to bring out the structure a little better.

The final draft is:

1. The tide wells in, this Yangtze spring,
        and interfingers with the sea:
2. the moonlight and the sea itself,
        are borne together on the tide.
 3. in wave on wave the moonlight runs
        across a myriad glittering miles.
4. So is the springtime moon, which lacks
        a river haunt in which to hide.

5. And so the sinuous Yantgse coils
          about the fragrant river-lands.
6. On flowering trees the moonlight falls,
         and fashions them as frozen rain.
7. The intervening air is pale
        and thin with hoar-frost's misty gaze.
8. The scattered isles of sandy white
         are lost into the mist again.

9. The sky above the river seems
       but one great whole, and clear of dust,
10. and brilliant in the void, the moon
       is slowly circling on alone.
11. What man was first to see the moon
       from this same stretch of river bank?
12. What year was it that on mankind
        was first this flood of moonlight thrown?

13. Our human life goes on, unending
        generation to generation.
14. The moon but follows on a course
        which the year through year will ever stay.
 15. I do not know for whom the moon
        is waiting or is seeing off.
16. I only see the Yangtse flow
        on its unreflecting way.

17. That white cloud, the travelling man,
       is small and dwindles till it's lost.
18. And on the bank, the maples find
        such sadness is unbearable.
19. On what frail craft must this one man
        be housed tonight so far from home?
20. On what far house and woman there
        must moon exert its heavy pull?

21. And in that curtained window space
        the lofty moon will linger on,
22. and on that separated one   
        and dressing table make to stay.
23. On loveliness it has its say,
        nor can the curtain shut it out.
24. And when on fulling-block it falls
        it's not for long it's brushed away.

25. We both are gazing with the same
        togetherness that brings no news.
26. Would I could reach her with the light
       the brimming moonlight can confer.
27. the wild geese fly, but never far,
       nor do they reach to springtime's end.
28. The fish and dragons dive and play
       but neither's good as messenger.

29. Last night and by a quiet pool
       I dreamt of falling flowers there;
30. How sad it is I'm far from home
       when we're but half-way through the spring:
31. the water swelling with the spring
       has reached its end and ebbs away,
32. on Yangtse pools the low-hung moon
       is setting in its westering.

33. How heavily the moonlight slants
        until it's lost in sea-borne mists.
34. From north to south's an endless road
        that no one on this earth can miss.
35. So many going home tonight
        are travelling by this self-same moon,
36. which, as it floods into trees,
        disturbs the settled heart in this.

Some reflections:

1. The original is simple, quiet and restrained, the passage of our human lives and affections repetitively echoed in the motions of the river and the moon. We have to produce something similar.
2. The English tetrameter couplet accommodates the Chinese seven character line reasonably well, the short lines allowing the staccato Chinese words their proper space in the poem. Any rhyming required comes easily. The English hexameter may work for Chinese quatrains, but is unwieldy for longer poems.

A Quieter Version


The rendering is still a little more insistant than English poetry really likes. Readers will remember {16} that we rewrote the last line of Du Fu's Spring Prospect as 'But hills and streams of this bare land remain' rather some variety of 'A broken land where only hills and streams remain' for this reason: experienced readers dislike being buttonholed in this way. For that reason we might prefer the following version, similar but quieter, structured a little complexly than the Chinese:

1. The tide wells in, this Yangtze spring,
        and interfingers with the sea:
2. the moonlight and the sea itself,
        are borne together on the tide.
 3. in wave on wave the waters run
        a thousand li of moonlit miles.
4. So is the springtime moon, which lacks
        all semblance of a place to hide.

5. Throughout, the sinuous Yantgse coils
          about the fragrant river-lands.
6. On flowering trees the moonlight falls
         in fashionings of frozen rain.
7. The intervening air is thin
        and veiled with hoar-frost's misty haze.
8. The scattered islets, sandy white
         are indistinct in mist again.

9. The sky above the river seems
       but one great whole, and clear of dust,
10. and brilliant in the void, the moon
       is slowly wheeling past alone.
11. What man was first to see the moon
       from this same stretch of river bank?
12. What year was first that on mankind
        this river's flood of light was thrown?

13. Our human life goes on, unending
        generation to generation.
14. The moon but follows on a course
        no year on year can pause or stay.
 15. I do not know for whom the moon
        is waiting or is seeing off.
16. I only see the Yangtse flow
        abundant, silent on its way.

17. That white cloud, the travelling man,
       is small and dwindles till it's gone.
18. And on the bank, the maples find
        such sadness is unbearable.
19. On what frail craft must this one man
        be housed tonight so far from home?
20. On what far house and woman there
        must moon exert its langorous pull?

21. And in that curtained window space
        the brimming moon will linger on,
22. and on that separated one  
        and on her dressing table stay.
23. On loveliness it stamps its mark,
        nor can the curtain close it off.
24. And when on fulling-block it falls
        it's not for long it's brushed away.

25. We both are gazing with the same
        togetherness that holds no news.
26. Would I could reach her with the light
       the brimming moonlight can confer:
27. the wild geese fly, but never far,
       nor do they reach to springtime's end:
28. the fish and dragons dive and play
       but neither's good as messenger.

29. Last night and by a quiet pool
       I dreamt the springtime flowers fell,
30. and grievously, and far from home
       when we're but half-way through the spring:
31. the water swelling with the spring
       has reached its end and ebbs away,
32. on Yangtse pools the low-hung moon
       is setting in its westering.

33. How heavily the moonlight slants
        until it's lost in coastal mists.
34. From north to south an endless road
        where all our loneliness must start.
35. So many going home tonight
        are travelling by this self-same moon,
36. which must, now settling through the trees,
        dishearten and disturb the heart.

References

1. Barnes, A. (2007) Chinese through Poetry: An Introduction to the Language and Imagery of Traditional Verse. Alcuin Academics. p. 42.
2. Barnes, p. 91.
3. A contentious field. Pound seems to have alternated between three views of translation: recreative translation,  interpretive translation, and faithful translation. See: Gu, M.D. (2008) Is Pound a Translator of Chinese Poetry? Translation Review. https://translation.utdallas.edu/translation_reviews/TR75.pdf
4. Zhang Ruoxu: A Night of Blossom. 张若虚《春江花月夜》

https://so.gushiwen.org/shiwenv_3aed26d1fa99.aspx

5. Barnes, pp. 306-7.
6. The Larger Picture. http://www.ocasopress.com/alternative-poetry-traditions-chinese3.html.
7. Kwong, C. (2020) Translating Classical Chinese Poetry into Rhymed English: A Linguistic-Aesthetic View . TTR 22 (1)
https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/ttr/1900-v1-n1-ttr3935/044787ar.pdf
A most useful, quantitative review. Rhyme is an instinctive part of Chinese poetry, far more than in English. Lefevere states that “[a]lthough the arguments against translating poetry into rhymed and metered verse are persuasive, rhyme can play an important part in the original poem: it marks a completion, a rounding of the line, and acts as a further ‘marker’ in the development of the poem as a whole. Furthermore, the sound effects produced by the succession of rhymes undoubtedly
heighten the illocutionary power of the poem” (1992, p. 71). 'In sum, the monosyllabic, isolating-analytic and tonal nature of classical Chinese, its simple syllabic structure that facilitates a concentration of rhyme groups, all constitute significant prosodic and morphological differences from English. They suggest that Chinese poetry is intrinsically better suited to rhyming than English versification.'
8. Kunish, A. (2011) Readings From Between the Lines: A Functionalist Approach to the
Translation of Classical Chinese Poetry. MA Thesis Univ. of Oslo. https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle/10852/24120/5/Kunish.pdf
9. Barnes p. 35.
10. The Structure of a Chinese Poem. http://www.ocasopress.com/alternative-poetry-traditions-chinese.html.
11. An Extended Analysis. http://www.ocasopress.com/alternative-poetry-traditions-chinese.html.
12. This is not a clear-cut matter because many words (like the míng, meaning to_be_bright) that would be adjectives or even nouns in English are in fact verbs in Chinese. Poets are not grammarians, however, and I have given as verbs only what I think the poet would have seen as describing an action.
13. Translations can serve many purposes: for a brief review see: Patel, S. (2016) Found in Translation: Poetry and words. China Studies Visiting Students Program, XJTLU 2015-16.
https://www.xjtlu.edu.cn/assets/files/student-work/found-in-translation-shreya-patel.pdf
14. Cha Sin-wai. (1991) Form and Spirit in Poetry Translation In J. Z. Liu 劉靖之 (Ed.), 《翻譯工作者手冊》 [A handbook for translators] (pp. 117-145). Hong Kong: The Commercial Press (H.K.) Ltd.
15. Li, N. (2008) The Contrast of Chinese and English in the Translation of Chinese Poetry. Asian Social Science. Vol 4 (12) http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.824.2787&rep=rep1&type=pdf
'The logical relationship of each component of the poem is the soul of a good translation.' But where functional words are vital to our understanding an English poem, the Chinese are much more flexible. Sometimes even the subject of clause or verb is not spelt out, confusing to an English reader but not at all so to the Chinese, who has call on the expectations of innumerable cases.
16. Summary and Suggestions. http://www.ocasopress.com/alternative-poetry-traditions-chinese.html.