Several Translations of One Poem by Li Bai (Li Po) Li Bai's Poetry - China the Beautiful


Farewell to Meng HaoRan
at Yellow Crane Terrace

Here's my good old friend
At the Yellow Crane Terrace
For a western departure.
We're saying good-bye.
He's in a cloud of third-month blossoms.
He's off downstream to Yang-Chou.
That shadow is his lonely sail.
Now it is gone.
All the blue is empty now.
All you can see is that long, long river.
It flows to the edge of the sky.

tr. Ken Hope

My old friend takes leave of the west at Yellow Crane Tower,
in misty third-month blossoms goes downstream to Yang-chou.
The far-off shape of his lone sail disappears in the blue-green void,
and all I see is the long river flowing to the edge of the sky.

tr. Burton Watson

My friend bade farewell at the Yellow Crane House,
And went down eastward to Willow Valley
Amid the flowers and mists of March.
The lonely sail in the distance
Vanished at last beyond the blue sky
And I could see only the river
Flowing along the border of heaven.

tr. Shigeyoshi Obata

My old friend
Bids farewell to me
In the west at Yellow Crane Tower.
Amid April's mist and flowers
He goes down to Yang-jou.
The distant image
Of his lonely sail
Disappears in blue emptiness,
And all I see
Is the Long River
Flowing to the edge of the sky

tr. Greg Whincup

You said good-bye at Yellow Crane Pavilion
and sailed west, down into the valley
through the flowers and mists of spring
until your lonely sail vanished
in the blue sky's horizon,
and I was left watching the river
flowing gently into heaven.

tr. Sam Hamill

From Yellow Crane Tower, my old friend leaves the west.
Downstream to Yang-chou, late spring a haze of blossoms,

distant glints of lone sail vanish into emerald-green air:
nothing left but a river flowing on the borders of heaven.

tr. David Hinton

My old friend takes off from the Yellow Crane Tower.
In smoke-flower third month down to Yangchou.
A lone sail, a distant shade, lost in the blue horizon.
Only the long Yangtze is seen flowing into the sky.

tr. Wai-Lim Yip

You have left me behind, old friend, at the Yellow Crane Terrace,
On your way to visit Yang-chou in the misty month of flowers;
your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky,
Till now I see only the river, on its way in heaven.

tr. Witter Bynner and Kiang Kang-hu

At the Yellow-Crane pagoda, where we stopped to bid adieu,
The mists and flowers of April seemed to wish good speed to you.
At the Emerald Isle, your lessening sail had vanished from my eye,
And left me with the River, rolling onward to the sky.

tr. Herbert A. Giles

my old friend leaves yellow crane pavilion
he is going to the west

sailing to yangzhou in march
while blossoms curl like smoke on the river

how far away the lone sail
fading into the clear blue sky

only the yangtze river remains
it is flowing at the edge of the world

tr. John Knoepfle and Wang Shouyi

At Yellow Crane Tower in the west
My old friend says farewell;
In the mists and flowers of spring
He goes down to Yangzhou;
Lonely sail, distant shadow,
Vanish in blue emptiness;
All I see is the great river
Flowing into the far horizon.

tr. Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang

I take leave of my dear old friend at the Yellow Crane Tower.
In the flower-smelling mist of the Third Month he will arrive at Yang Chou.
The single sail is shining far off--it is extinguished in the jade-coloured distance,
I see only the long river flowing to the edge of Heaven.

tr. Amy Lowell and Florence Ayscough

My friend has left the west where towers Yellow Crane
For River Town when willow-down and flowers reign.
His lessening sail is lost in the boundless azure sky,
Where I see but the endless River rolling by.

tr. Xu Yuanzhong

From Yellow Crane Tower you sail
the river west as mist flowers bloom.
A solitary sail, far shadow, green mountains
     at the empty end of vision
And now, just the Yangtze river touching the sky.

tr. Tony Barnstone, Willis Barnstone, and Chou Ping

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