“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Sorrow, by Dai Wangshu

Dai Wangshu

Dai Wangshu (1905-1950) was a poet and essayist closely connected to the neo-sensualist movement in 1930s and 1940s Shanghai. Like many of the other writers in that group, he was strongly influenced by French literature – especially French symbolists – and studied in France for a few years in the early 1930s. Gregory B. Lee has written his biography: Dai Wangshu: The Life and Poetry of a Chinese Modernist (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1989).

This short poem from 1930 is, I think, a good example of Dai’s often melancholy style, written in the form of a palindrome, with a distinct rhythm and all the “mood-markers” of sadness, autumn, longing and far-away seas.
- Anna Gustafsson Chen

This translation was first published on Anna's blog Bokberget on 15 March 2013.

Say it’s the grief of lonely autumn
Say it’s the longing of distant seas
If someone asks about my sorrow
I do not dare to mention your name.

I do not dare to mention your name.
If someone asks about my sorrow
Say it’s the longing of distant seas
Say it’s the grief of lonely autumn.

烦忧

说是寂寞的秋的清愁,
说是辽远的海的相思。
假如有人问我的烦忧,
我不敢说出你的名字。

我不敢说出你的名字,
假如有人问我的烦忧
说是辽远的海的相思,
说是寂寞的秋的清愁。

Comments

# 1.   

I've translated two of his short writings originally published in 1932 & 1944. "empties thoughts on poetics/戴望舒《诗论零札》"

susan, June 30, 2016, 6:46p.m.

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