TRANSLATOR OVERLORD – 伊沙 Yi Sha

Yi Sha
TRANSLATOR OVERLORD

Austrian poet Martin Winter
speaks eight different languages
(his wife Jackie speaks seven),
he is Translator Overlord.
I translate him English to Chinese,
striving to make his Chinese edition
even more poetic.
Today I discover
in the manuscript
of English poems he gave me,
there is one in Danish!
Danish knows me,
though I don’t know Danish.
Seems like he also thinks I am
Translator Overlord.

8/7/18
Translated by Martin Winter, 2021
Translator’s note: Actually she speaks in more tongues!

超级译霸

伊沙

奥地利诗人维马丁
自己会八种语言
(他老婆杜鹃会七种)
是个超级译霸
我为他英译中
只是为了让他的中译本
更诗一些
今天,我发现他
在给我提供的
其诗的英文版中
有一首是丹麦文
丹麦文认识我
我不认识丹麦文
看来他也把我
当成超级译霸了

2018.8.7

Yi Sha
DRAGONFLY

From childhood on
there was a dragonfly
going round in my brain:
three-dimensions,
beautiful
like a glittering
translucent blade of grass,
flying and flying
all the way
till I grew up.
Entering my middle age,
I began to worry,
that thing must be my fate,
why hasn’t it flown
out of my head?

2017
Translated by MW in 2021

 

Yi Sha
THOUSAND-YEAR-RAIN

I come back from Japan
to a downpour in Chang’an,
finally got to use the umbrella
I hadn’t needed for the whole trip.
From under there
I size up the clouds
racing over the city,
it’s the same sky
the Tang dynasty envoy
must have spied
under his bamboo hat.

2018
Translated by MW in 2021

Yi Sha
SANCTUARY

It has snowed hard all day, now it suddenly stops. At the end it snows while the sun is shining. Colored clouds are floating, until dusk finally falls, all over this deserted intersection in Space City …
The three of us are walking over the zebra crossing.
Five or six little restaurants along the road, not one person inside.
Maybe it is the snow, our son chooses northeast cuisine from the home of the winter, a steaming welcome.
“Into such a deserted restaurant, there comes a frustrated man, this is the begin of a movie, a movie with Ken Takakura. He orders rice wine, pork liver fried rice, and a few sticks of grilled meat. The landlady says, now that’s a real man, he can eat! And that’s how the story begins …”, I say to my son the film student.
This evening he eats a lot. My wife eats very little.
This night, because of the snow, we are stuck at our new apartment. It is the base I have prepared for my writing in my old age – my last sanctuary.

2018
Translated by MW in 2021

Yi Sha
LONELY ISLAND

One year, the poet Shen Haobo and I came to a lonely island. We met a university student, a genius in expressing himself in colloquial language …
I predicted: He will become a good poet.
Xiaobo didn’t agree, said he loved money too much.
Both our predictions came true.
He went on to write very well, you can even say, not bad at all.
But his writing was short-lived, gone very fast.

2018
Translated by MW in 2021

Yi Sha
COOL PROF

In times of yearning for classical learning, the poet teaches the nation.
In times of romance, the poet is a rebellious prince in self-exile.
In modernist times, the poet is the cultural elite, a detached philosopher.
In neo-modernist times, the poet doesn’t look like a poet, but like a next-door uncle.
This is how the image of the poet develops through history, it’s how the role of the poet changes as civilization moves forward.
For this here above, I award myself 100 points, you won’t hear this in a university lecture anywhere in China.
If you don’t take this down it’s your loss! Because I won’t say this twice, we don’t have time for it either.
Class dismissed!

2018
Translated by MW in 2021

Yi Sha
LONELY FIGURE

The way I am going to think of Cambodia,
a lonely guy who has lost his whole family,
with broken teeth and a false leg,
who totters ahead to no-one knows where,
at least his future cannot get worse.

2019
Translated by MW in 2021

Yi Sha
ARCTIC

The first
“Eskimo” kid,
who rode in a white man’s airplane, said:
“I have sat in the soul of a raven.”

2019
Translated by MW in 2021

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