Fire hung on a nail makes a lamp;
two moons, a friend.
A thing that is not bark is a glass;
two trees, a wood; three trees, a forest.
Ten mouths make a leaf,
a ladybird is a worm that floats.
A woman with a horse is a mother,
a bird wearing armour is a duck.
A fish needs three drops of water.
The sea: a mother wearing a hat
by the waves.
Thought is composed of strength
from a tree, clear sight, and anchored
by a heart.
版本一 (Version 1)
翻译: 何文慧 (Translated by Wenhui He, Steven Langsford and Jiana Zhu)
版本二 (Version 2)
For someone who doesn’t understand Chinese characters, the original poem is mysterious, and therein lies its beauty. It describes how the separate components, or radicals, of the characters come together to create new meaning. For example, the character for ‘thought’ is composed of the radicals for ‘tree’, ‘eye’ and ‘heart’. However the internal logic of characters is common knowledge for any native Chinese speaker, and so to translate this poem literally would not capture the sense of fascination and enigma that Chinese characters elicit for one who doesn’t understand them. With this in mind, we took quite a free approach and turned this poem into a riddle—the Chinese reader has to puzzle out the meaning contained in each line—as we felt that this element of mystery was important to capture in translation.
翻译: (Translated by Annie Drahos and Jinghai Chao)