Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Poem by Mr. Xin, a Metal Worker

One of the metal workers who went on strike in the last couple of weeks handed a Local Action member three poems, which have been posted by Chu Hoi Dick on the InmediaHK website.

The first one of the three poems is reconstructed from a famous lyrical poem called Man Jiang Hong (滿 江 紅) written by Yue Fei (岳 飛), who was a patriotic general of the Southern Song Dynasty, when he was 30 years old. The other two poems are also reconstructions of classical poems by famous poets. I find the first one to be the best of the three and have translated it below. Beneath my translation is a translation found on Wikipedia of the original poem for easy comparison.

My Translation of Mr. Xin’s Poem:

“My wrath is on government-business collusion,
As we laborers toil through sweltering heat and fierce rainstorms.
Our deeds are done on dusty sites and we often work right into the night.
Vile businessmen don’t have a conscience; they are beasts whose aim is to exploit.
Our humiliation of a decade is still not vindicated.
The pain of laborers will never be soothed.
Let us keep up the strike until we have our way.
Despite hunger and insult, we swear we will make businessmen pay.
Let us begin anew to recover our dignity, before we bundle rods.”

Wikipedia Translation of the Original Poem:

“My wrath bristles through my helmet, the rain stops as I stand by the rail.
I look up towards the sky and let loose a passionate roar.
At age thirty my deeds are nothing but dust, my journey has taken me over eight thousand li (里 – about ½ a kilometer).
So do not sit by idly, for young men will grow old in regret.
The humiliation of Jing Kang still lingers.
When will the pain of his subjects ever end?
Let us ride our chariots through the Helan Pass.
There we shall feast and drink barbarian flesh and blood.
Let us begin anew to recover our old empire, before paying tribute to the Emperor.”

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