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Eva Yung 1 Symbolist uses imagery or objects to send a subtle message or express emotion from the poet.

According to Lin, to evoke and intimate rather than to state directly was a primary aim of the Symbolists.1 The ambiguity of the symbolism in these poems can also draw out the readers inner self as he attributes his own meanings during the reading process. Symbolist poetry was first introduced to China in the 1920s, by Li Jinfa, one of Chinas most important modern poets. Little is known about Lis life. From bits and pieces of information, we know Li was born in Guangdong sometime around 1900. His given name was Shuliang, but he adopted the pen name Jinfa (Golden Hair) after the blond goddess who appeared before him during a hallucination when he was ill.2 In his twenties, he traveled to Europe and while he was in France, he became interested in French Symbolist poetry.3 Translating French Symbolist poetry and writing some of his own, he was able to introduce this expressive art to a Chinese audience. However, many Chinese were unable to comprehend his medley of enigmatic images and private symbolism.4 In addition, not only were his poems incomprehensible, many of his themes were dark and depressing, while ironically (for most readers) displaying some form of love. Tenderness, Thoughts, Misfortune, Woman Forsaken are four of his poems that contain these dark themes and love, as well as his infamous symbolism. Close readings of the translations of these four poems (translations by Lin [1972], Yeh [1992], and Hsu [1964]) reveal that his poems are not only beautifully constructed, but they also express the different perspectives of each individual reader or translator.

1 2

Lin, 153 Yeh (1992), p. 17 3 Lin, p. 152-153 4 Lin, p. 153

Eva Yung 2 In Modern Chinese Poetry: An Introduction, Julia Lin interprets Tenderness () (1922) as Li Jinfas ambivalent attitude toward Beauty:5

With my rude fingertips I feel the warmth of your flesh; The small fawn lost his way in the woods; Only the sighs of dead leaves remain. Your low feeble voice Screams in my barren heart, And I, the conqueror of all, Have broken my spear and shield. Your tender glance Is like a butchers warning of slaughter; Your lips? No need to mention them! I would rather trust your arms. I believe in the crazy fairy tales, But not in a womans love. I am not used to making comparisons, But you do resemble the shepherdess in fiction. I exhaust all musical tunes, But fail to please your ears; I use every color, But none can capture your beauty.6 Lin suggests that Li Jinfa is personifying Beauty. She states, [Beauty] is the object of his love as well as his frustrations.7 However, in Lins translations, this poem comes to be about both the stages of a mans love for a woman and the influence they have in each others lives. In the first stanza, we see that it accentuates both the speakers and the womans fleeting innocence. From the first two lines, With my rude fingertips/I feel the warmth of your flesh, it seems as if her beauty is tainted by his love. His rude fingertips touch her warm flesh, or skin.

5 6

Lin, p. 158 Lin, p. 158-159 7 Lin, p. 158

Eva Yung 3 Rude fingertips are not soft or gentle; they are usually dry, cracked, and prodding. When we think of warm flesh, it has a gentle, pure, and soft connotation. So touching her warm flesh with his rude fingertips represents his negative influence on her innocence. The poem continues with the theme of innocencein the third linethe small fawn that appears represents innocence. To be more specific, the speakers innocence. His innocence is in question as he [loses] his way in the woods. Getting lost in the woods, the fawn has deviated from his path. In other words, the speakers innocence has strayed from the path it once followed. Therefore, he is not innocent or pure as he was. The sighs of dead leaves further emphasize this point. The sighs are the sounds of crinkled leaves either being stepped on by the fawn or being blown in the wind, grazing the ground. This symbolizes his purity is fleeting as he stays with his lover she is negatively influencing him as well. From the second stanza to the end, we see from the speakers perspective, how he has influenced his lovers life, and she his own. Your low feeble voice/screams in my barren heart. Even though her voice is weak, it echoes within his soul, like a first love unable to escape the hearts memory. Her image resonates within him. Although he seems to be a conqueror of all, he is unable to drive [her] voice from his heart. He breaks his weapons because as much as he fights to rid his tainted heart of her, he cannot. He is surrendering to his love. However, [her] tender glance is compared to a butchers warning of slaughter. This shows that their love has become bittersweet and her innocence has turned to violence. In the next two lines, lips represent words and arms represent actions. He would rather believe in her actions than her words; he cannot trust her when she states her love. He can only trust her physical expressions. The fourth stanza furthers this idea by instigating that the speaker would

Eva Yung 4 rather trust crazy fairy tales than this womans love. Although crazy, fairy tales are static; the tales and the morals never change, but love is fickle its constantly changing. Nevertheless, through the frustrations that they both face, he cannot forget her for she resembles the shepherdess in fiction.8 Like the prince in the tale, the speaker cannot overlook her appearance. The last stanza fully emphasizes the speakers point: no tunes or images can ever capture her beauty. In the end, this woman has greatly influenced the speaker and he cannot escape the memories of her. Julia Lin, Kai-Yu Hsu, and Michelle Yeh all have translated this particular piece by Li Jinfa. They read the same original Chinese text from Li Jinfa, but each translates the poem differently. For the first line, , Lin and Yeh translate as fingertips, but Hsu uses fingers. Fingertips are more sensual than fingers. Touching her with his fingertips, the speaker caresses her skin with care, afraid to damage her. However, replacing it with fingers, evokes an image of roughness, which fits well with Hsus description of these fingers, rude and crude. Hsu, Lin, and Yeh all translate the rest of the stanza differently. The third line in the original, , does not state the sex of the baby deer. Hsu follows the original Chinese text opting to use the neuter possessive pronoun: The little fawn lost its way in the forest. The fawn here represents innocence. Because of the ambiguity of the fawns sex, we do not know whose innocence is in question. Therefore, it can represent that of the speaker, his lover, or both. Lin and Yeh, however, assign a sex for the deer. Lin thinks the fawn is male: The

According to Lin, Li is referring to Paul Sbillots The Dirty Shepherdess, a French fairy tale. A beautiful princess, disguised as a shepherdess, dresses in filthy clothing and covers her hands and face in mud in order to find work after her father banished her from the court. One day, in order to relive her past, she wears her fine clothes and a prince catches her. He falls in love with her beauty and is determined to meet with her. After some obstacles (similar to Disneys Cinderella), the prince and the princess meet and marry. At the wedding, the princesss father realizes he had misunderstood his daughters words and they reconcile. (

Eva Yung 5 small fawn lost his way in the woods. Yeh, on the other hand, calls the fawn a young doe: A young doe has lost her way in the forest. As stated earlier, Lins speakers innocence is in question. In Yehs, the lovers innocence is lost. Rather than the speaker reflecting on their mutual influence, we only see the effect he has on her. She is not as innocent as she once was, and her innocence is slowly drained as she is with him. In the original text, the 15th line is in parentheses: (). Lin, unfortunately, neglects this in her translation. Li Jinfa uses the parentheses to signify an aside made to the reader. However, Lin, by omitting the parentheses implies that the speaker is still addressing his lover, explaining to her that he has made an exception just for her. If the parentheses were not removed, the speaker appears to be informing the reader about his personality, that he is someone who does not usually make comparisons. Lin seems to believe that the parentheses were unnecessary, as he was never supposed to break the fourth wall. Omitting them, Lins translation ends up sounding like banal statements and clichs.9 Yeh, on the other hand, extends the parentheses to the next line: (Im not good at comparison to begin with, /But you are indeed like the shepherdess in a romance.) Yehs translation, therefore, is similar to Lins, in that the fourth wall has not been broken. The speaker is still talking to his lover and is whispering this subtle clich into her ear. Compared to Lin and Yeh, where the speaker appears lovesick, in Hsus translation, the speaker resembles a rapist. Hsus translation conveys the voice of a person who is looking at a woman who cannot escape his grasp. As stated earlier, there is a sense of roughness in the speaker who touches her with his rude and crude fingers. Instead of a tender glance, Hsus speaker receives a glance that cast[s] a butchers warning. Hsus speaker does not receive the

Lin, p. 159

Eva Yung 6 tender glance as he does in Lins or Yehs translations and in turn forces himself onto the woman. Hsu also inserts an ah when it is not included in the original text. The location of the ah expresses the speakers need for the woman to love him the way he loves her. Yet, nothing he does will please her, but her beauty tempts him so he cannot stop his advances. As a whole, Tenderness reflects the relationship between the speaker and his lover. Li Jinfa uses subtle dark hints (dead leaves, butchers warning of slaughter) to display their relationship beautifully. The drastic change from innocence to violence, the poem assumes Li Jinfas views about love. From rude fingertips to every color, each reader has a different interpretation of Tenderness, as shown by Lin, Hsu and Yeh. Li Jinfas Thoughts () is another interesting symbolist poem. It amplifies his unique use of images and metaphors. Like fallen leaves Splashing blood On our feet, Life is but A smile on the lips Of death. Under a half-dead moon, You drink and sing, The sound splitting your throat Disappears in the northern wind. Ah! Go and caress your beloved. Open your doors and windows, Make her timid, and Let the dust of the road cover Her lovely eyes. Is the timidity And anger Of life? Like fallen leaves Splashing blood

Eva Yung 7 On our feet. Life is but A smile on the lips Of death.10 In Hsus translations, the first two stanzas set the mood of the poem. Falling leaves represent autumn, the season before deaths arrival. It is the season when animals prepare for the upcoming winter and plants begin to wither from the cold. When winter is approaches, so does death. Life is but/A smile on the lips/Of death. Life withers away when death approaches. Just as it can be given easily, life can easily be taken away as easily as one smiles. The next line sets the time and the general location, Under a half-dead moon. Half-dead is a pessimistic perspective. Choosing between half-dead and half-full, Li Jinfa chooses the former. He is cynical about life. This reiterates the theme of death already established in the first two stanzas. He also uses a second person point of view, referring to his readers as you. Using this perspective, Li Jinfa is connecting himself to his audience via the message in the next two stanzas. While death may be imminent, you should go and caress your beloved. The lines, Open your doors and windows/Make her timid, and/Let the dust of the road cover/Her lovely eyes, tell the readers to be with the one you love and let her/him know there is not much time. Carpe diem, every moment could be your last. The brevity of life can be considered the timidity/and anger/of life. In the last few lines, the beginning reappears. Michelle Yeh phrases this concept as circularity in Modern Chinese Poetry: Theory and Practice Since 1917. By circular structure I am referring to poems in which the beginning and ending contain the same image or motif, which appears nowhere else. By definition, this form excludes refrains that often appear at the opening and the end but also in other parts of a poem.

Hsu, p. 171-172

Eva Yung 8 The circular structure describes a pattern of return or a configuration of symmetry.11 Because the beginning repeats itself, these thoughts seem to be never ending. The poet is constantly mulling over the same ideas. Although circularity can imply wholeness or completeness, the circularity here suggests incompleteness. The poets thoughts are not fully established, so he must think back to the beginning in order to reevaluate them. At first glance, Thoughts is dark and glum with the mention of blood and Death. However, in it, Li Jinfa conveys a powerful message to his readers. He tells them to live life to the fullest and to spend their time with their loved ones. (Carpe diem!) However, his intense symbolism throws his readers off, making his meaning incomprehensible. They may choose to shrug off his poetry as vague and awkward. Julia Lin experiences that ambiguity. The development of the [third to fourth stanza], intuitive rather than logical, gives rise to ambiguity.12 She further explains how opened windows and doors imply fresh air, but they can also indicate that something is being let in. In this instance, the opened windows and doors allow an awareness of death into the household. Lin and Hsu both have translated Thoughts and each express a similar meaning, but they convey it differently. Compared to Hsus translation, Lins has more pronounced enjambment. The enjambment emphasizes a thought process; at first, it is not complete, but is able to reach an ending. In Hsus translation, the lines are not as fragmented, but they do not express the sense of introspection. Looking at the original text, the appearance of enjambment is similar to Lins. The literal translation of the first line, , is as damage leaf splash. Hsu puts the verb splash onto the next line. Because of this, Hsus first stanza cannot dramatize

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Yeh (1991), p. 91 Lin, p.158

Eva Yung 9 the scene of decay constructed by Li Jinfa. Lins translation resembles the original enjambment, as well as the original appearance. When reading the original, the declining appearance of the words exaggerates the splashing of the leaves, or blood, on our feet. It also amplifies the decline of life, or the approach of death. Hsu ignores this feature of the poem translating the poem vertically. The vertical form loses the eerie sense of death approaching. Lin specifically reproduces the same staircase-effect in her translation. As the lines continue to fall, the strong sense of gloom and decadence13 is apparent with Lins translation. However, because of the English language, reading words horizontally does not portray the mood as well as the original. Reading the characters vertically displays the dripping effect Li intends for his readers. Another interesting feature of the poem is the number four. Although not stated, the number four repeats throughout the whole poem. The number of characters in each line varies from two to seven, but the majority of the lines have four characters. The number four (, S) in Chinese is nearly a homophonous word for the Chinese word die (, S). Death is heavy in Thoughts. Not only does Li Jinfa directly mention death, but he also indirectly incorporates it throughout the poem. Unfortunately, neither Hsu nor Lin incorporate this in their translations. The adjectives chosen for this poem are precise. Characters like and are difficult to interpret, but the translators respect Lis choices and translate as accurate as possible. In their process, both have translated the poem with some differences. First, the leaves mentioned in the first line are described as fallen by Hsu and spoiled by Lin. Fallen implies the leaves have already died and detached themselves from the tree branches above. Spoiled also implies that the leaves are dead, or expired, but have not fully separated from the branches.


Lin, p. 157

Eva Yung 10 Fallen leaves have a different undertone than spoiled leaves. Both are correct, but provide different views of the image. Second is splitting throat and rent throat. They are synonyms of each other, but rent throat does not display the image as appropriately as splitting. In the original Chinese, the second stanza is just as short and precise as the translations. //. However, both Hsu and Lin translate as smile. has two meanings: smile and laugh. Instead of Life is but/A smile on the lips/Of death, if we use the second meaning of , the second stanza can be translated as Life is but/Laughter on the lips/Of Death. The image in the second translation is more sinister than the first. Death shows extreme happiness as he deals with the lives of others. Furthermore, the connection between the second and third stanza is logical. The sound splitting your throat or rent throat is the sound of laughter. As Death wanders at night, drinking and singing, he laughs at the world. The literal translation of is Death God, or God of Death. The Death God is a very uncommon character in Chinese poetry. With respect to the Gods, Death is the most gruesome. Life is but/A smile on the lips/Of Death. According to Li Jinfa, the God of Death is in control of our fates. He is able to take our lives away just as easily as he can smile. Because is a God, as a sign of respect should be written with a capital letter D: Death. However, Hsu does not capitalize death in his translation. God of Death is, therefore, not as important as one would have expected in Hsus translation. Instead, the poem translates as death is easily attainable. Lin, on the other hand, does capitalize death in her translations making it into an entity of power. Another issue occurs in Hsus translation. In the third stanza, Hsu translates / as You drink and sing/The sound splitting your throat. Li Jinfa does not write in these two lines. However, Hsu brings it upon himself to put you. Using you, these actions

Eva Yung 11 are directed towards you, the reader. As mentioned before, Li Jinfa uses you to connect himself to his audience. If you were to be removed, the stanza would not be directed towards anyone; it could possibly be meant for Death. It would be the readers decision to choose whether drink and sing is for you. Li Jinfa uses the uncommon theme of death and is able to incorporate an array of images. Lin and Hsu have different perspectives of Thoughts, but the overall message remains the same. Be aware death is coming and live life surrounded by the ones you love. Misfortune () is another example of Li Jinfas exceptional use of dark imagery. He deals with the uncommon themes of humiliation and betrayal. The flowers of our souls are broken, So we cry bitterly in a dark room. The sun behind the mountain range cannot dry Our tears; it dissipates just the dawn haze. How ashamed I am. A nightingale is singing. Bring me your lyre, and Ill tell it my sorrows And ask it to spread the tale as it roams. We interact with a stupid language. Only your lyre can relate And only spring can understand the fall of a soul. Except for truth, we know no greater thing. Open your arms, the night is whispering. A night owl has arrived, bringing us, I fear, Endless sorrow.14 From the first two lines, we see that the speaker is depressed. The flowers of [their] souls is a beautiful image. The flower is the central nucleus of the soul. It represents emotions. When a person is born, their emotions have started to bud in their soul. Thus, as they get older their emotions blossom into a flower. The flower breaks when destructive emotions overpower the soul. The soul of the speaker is broken because of their negative emotions. He or she cries

Yeh (1992), p. 20

Eva Yung 12 bitterly because of the pain they are experiencing heartbreak. Fortunately, the speaker is not facing this pain alone. There are others in the room with him or her. The sun behind the mountain range in the third line (without reading the next line) represents either a sunset or a sunrise. Sunsets represent the end of a day, while sunrises represent the start of a new day. People use the new day as a way to forget what had happened the day before. However, even though it represents something new, the memories of yesterday are still present. Sunsets are very similar to sunrises. However, what you experienced is clearer at the end of the day than it would be the next day. The sun cannot dry/our tears; it dissipates just the dawn haze. In this case, the sun behind the mountain range is the sunrise. A fog, or a haze, occurs when a cold air mass meets a warmer, more humid air mass. The fog dissipates during a sunrise because the suns rays evaporate the water in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the suns rays cannot evaporate our tears, only the morning fog, or the dawn haze. In the next line, a nightingale is singing. The nightingales song is a lamentation, for the speakers grief. The lyre is an instrument, with an appearance similar to a harp. It is used as a background instrument to recitations and stories. The speaker wanting to tell the lyre his or her pain shows acceptance of his or her misfortune. He or she is ready to tell the others the sorrows s/he experienced. The stupid language the speaker interacts with is an understanding of sentiment. When an individual shares a private story, they are expecting their listener to understand their pain, sorrow, or happiness. The others in the dark room interact with the speaker. They understand what the speaker says because they are also experiencing the same pain the speaker is experiencing. However, when the speaker shares their story, they realize only [the] lyre can

Eva Yung 13 relate and only spring can understand the fall of a soul. The fall of a soul goes back to the first line: flowers of our souls. The repetition of the broken soul accentuates the understanding the speaker seeks. The speaker states that only the lyre can relate to their pain. As stated before, the lyre is used when others recite or tell stories. The lyre has heard all these stories. It knows what the speaker is going through, but cannot understand the speakers pain. Only spring can understand. Ironically, spring is the season that brings in life. It brings new beginnings to things that were once dead in the winter. Thus, winter is the fall of a soul and spring is the aftermath. Spring has already gone through the fall; it is the revival of a new chapter. Hence, spring understands the fall of a soul. The next line is the cause of the speakers agony. Except for truth, we know no greater thing. Truth is the direction a relationship may or may not falter. Unfortunately, the truth negatively affected the speaker. Unable to think of anything else, the day passes and the night has fallen. An owl, a nocturnal creature, has arrived. Its arrival in the poem signals the time is past midnight. The speaker sees the arrival of the owl, meaning they are still awake. The night owl also represents the speaker. When an individual is called a night owl, that individual is unable to sleep at night. They are experiencing insomnia. During insomnia, a persons thought process is highly active. He or she is constantly contemplating their experiences, pain, and memories. The speaker has insomnia. Constantly mulling over the past, the speaker has endless sorrow. Another analysis of Misfortune, one may assume the poem features the humiliation of rape victims. The flowers of [their] souls is a metaphor for their purity. Flowers are also associated with virginity. The flowers are broken thus, their virginities have been broken or taken away. From the next line, the speaker and company express their remorse in a dark room.

Eva Yung 14 Something or someone the speaker has believed in destroyed their trust. The speaker exclaims, How ashamed I am. Most rape victims are ashamed of themselves for letting that act happen to them. They keep to themselves and are afraid to become intimate with others. The misfortune they wish to tell others, but cannot, is truth about them. The night owl is wise; but it cannot help the speaker find the truth they want to know. Instead, it brings doubts, worries, and sorrow. Regrettably, Michelle Yeh is the only one that has translated Misfortune. She follows the original text quite well. However, in the original Chinese, the verb dissipates does not appear in the fourth line. It appears in the fifth line. According to the original, the fourth and fifth lines should translate to, our tears, just the dawn haze/dissipates. Oh, how ashamed I am, a nightingale is singing. Besides the location of the verb, Yeh removes from the fifth line. Although it does not make a significant difference, the removal of decreases the intensity the Li intends. Li Jinfa uses his typical dark symbolism here; however, this poem is very straightforward. Compared to Thoughts where his images are harder to grasp, Misfortune is direct. As mentioned earlier, the primary aim of the Symbolists is to evoke and intimate rather than to state directly. Yet Li Jinfa does quite the opposite. The theme is well established; the title, as well as the elements of the poem, reflects the purpose of the poem. Most lines of the poem contain a negative connotation: broken, cry bitterly, cannot, tears, ashamed, sorrow Unfortunately, Misfortune appears to be Li Jinfas least successful poem. A more successful poem Li has written is Woman Forsaken (). Other names include The Abandoned Woman or Woman Abandoned:

Eva Yung 15 Long hair hangs before my eyes, Blocking the shaming stares, The rapid flow of fresh blood, the slumber of dry bones. Dark night and insects come with the same footsteps Over the low wall And yelp into my chaste ears Like the howling wind That makes all the nomads shiver. With a blade of grass, I traverse the empty vale with God; My sorrow finds the register in a flitting bees brain Or hangs down the cliff with a mountain spring And then disappears with red leaves. The grief of a forsaken woman weighs on her movements; The flame of the setting sun cannot turn her distress Into smoke rising from the embers Or dye the wings of a vagrant crow And perch with it on a rock in a tumbling sea To listen quietly to a mariners song. The decrepit skirt groans And wanders by the grave. No more scalding tears To adorn the grasses Of the world.15 According to Lin, Li expresses the common Symbolist view of societys hostile and contemptuous attitude toward the artist.16 Lin is correct in her evaluation, but does not accurately portray the entire theme of Woman Forsaken. She ignores the important symbol of the forsaken woman; the forsaken woman represents the speakers past memories. The overall theme of the poem is the inability to both escape the living and ascend to the Heavens. The speaker is a beggar. A beggar is seen as unkempt, lazy, and uncouth. Beggars receive judgmental stares from those with higher status. Unable to afford a haircut, a beggars hair grows

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Yeh, p. 18 Lin, p. 160

Eva Yung 16 longer than expected. Their long hair blocks the shaming stares from others. Others are ashamed at the beggar. Those who stare at the speaker believed the speaker could have done a better deed. Instead, the beggar shows them that society is not perfect. It is dirty and poor. His hair also blocks the flow of fresh blood, the slumber of dry bones. The fresh blood represents the living and the dry bones represent the dead. Blocking both of these parties, the speaker is living in his own world. The gruesome images of blood and dry bones make the reader believe that the speaker is not present in reality. Night soon comes bringing along insects. The insects swarm around the speaker because he is motionless and silent. Insects naturally smell and feast upon dead flesh as soon as possible. The insects lead the reader to believe that the blood and bones mentioned are the speakers blood and bones. Instead of the speaker not present in reality, he is in the stage between life and death. The sound the insects create sounds like the howling wind/That makes all the nomads shiver. The sound of a howling wind is that of a loud whistle. Only a swarm of insects can create such a high frequency. Therefore, the insects swarm towards the speaker who is slowly dying. Before death, there is limbo a world in between the dead and alive. The speaker envisions an empty valley as he is slowly dying. The valley is his limbo. He travels this empty valley in order to be with God. The bible states a utopia where Adam and Eve were once able to communicate with God. This utopia was the Garden of Eden.17 In Eden, there was only nature. The speaker, with his blade of grass, is trying to find Eden, utopia, wanting to communicate with God. However, he cannot find it. Disappointed, the speaker buries his sorrows in nature. He compares his sorrow to a flitting bees brain is rapid. Unable to find pollen or water, a bee


Genesis 2:8

Eva Yung 17 moves faster in order to search for its desires. Thus, the speaker must travel faster to find his destination. The speaker, in his distress, envisions a forsaken woman. The forsaken woman roams in her grief from abandonment. She seeks the one thing that can free her from her depression. But, who has abandoned her? Since the woman appears in the second stanza, the reader can assume that the speaker is still in limbo. The forsaken woman, present in his limbo, has come to visit the speaker. Thus, we see that the speaker was the one who abandoned the woman. Overwhelmed by sorrow, the woman slowly moves towards the speaker. Her grief is tangible; the speaker compares it to the flames of the setting sun. Unlike smoke rising from the embers, her agony cannot leave her body. Unable to do anything, the woman stays in limbo; clinging on the past, she cannot move on from Earth. She does not find peace, so she cannot listen quietly to a mariners song like a settled crow. The decrepit skirt, or the old, worn out skirt, blows in the wind and the speaker suddenly envisions himself at the cemetery. The skirt belongs to the forsaken woman. She wears the clothes she once had before her death. Her decrepit clothes lead us to believe she lived a poor life, much like the speaker. Because of their life style similarities and her appearance in his limbo, we can assume the speaker and the woman shared a close connection. Feeling abandoned by the speaker, the woman agonizes but cannot cry. A dead person cannot produce tears due to a nonfunctional brain. Hence, the woman cannot cry scalding tears/To adorn the grasses/Of the world. Li uses many spiritual references in Woman Forsaken. The most obvious is God. The speaker travels through the empty vale with God. As stated earlier, the Garden of Eden, Gods

Eva Yung 18 creation, is a scenic, natural location. The speaker envisioning a valley is a sign that he is ready to ascend to the Heavens to be with God. He accepts his inevitable death. But, before the Heavens, the speaker must realize his sins and to leave behind any earthly desires. However, unable to reach God, the speaker assumes this holy entity does not want to see him. Therefore, the speaker lies in misery, projecting his sorrows onto his environment. The forsaken woman soon appears after his failure to meet with God as a reminder that he has abandoned her. We see that the speaker has sinned, and has yet to repent for forsaking the woman. However, the guilt of abandoning the woman, the speaker cannot unite with God. His sorrows and desires leave him to stay in limbo and be with the forsaken woman. Spirituality in the poem is important. Although the speaker cannot be with God, he creates an environment free from shame and judgment. Movement in the poem is also very prominent. Similar to the speaker, the reader experiences a standstill. Wind, rising, wings, and flitting lift the readers, but flow, setting, weights, and perch force the readers to settle back down. Concocting this design, Li Jinfa allows us to experience the speakers perspective. Yeh, Lin and Hsu all translate Woman Forsaken. Through these three translations, there are plenty of differences. The most prominent is the title. Each translates the title differently. Lin translates as The Abandoned Woman. This title implies someone has abandoned the woman, while Woman Abandoned, Hsus title, implies the woman has abandoned something. Yehs title, Woman Forsaken, is similar to Hsus; the woman has forsaken. According to the poem, the woman is abandoned; she did not abandon anything. Lins title choice is more accurate to the poems stanzas. However, viewing the poem as the woman abandoning, Hsu and Yehs title choices can be accurate.

Eva Yung 19 Another close look at the poem, using Hsu and Yehs title as a guide, the woman clings to the living because she has left something behind. In order to find it, she roams the world to find it. There is a parallel between her search and the speakers. The speaker is tries to find God, but cannot find Him. The woman grieves because she cannot find what she has abandoned, much like how the speaker grieves when he cannot be with God. They both cannot leave the living, but they also cannot ascend to the Heavens. They are stuck in between worlds. Each translator translates the second line differently. They all have the same meaning, but convey a different image. Yeh translates as blocking the shaming stares, while Lin translates it as severing all hostile stares of contempt. The long hair, in the first line, helps the speaker ignore the looks given by others. Blocking the shaming stares, Yehs speaker uses their hair to create a black box, covering the faces and bodies of those who look at the speaker with shame. As mentioned before, the shame the speaker faces is shame for the speakers inability to aim higher. Lins speaker sever[s] all hostile stares of contempt. Severing means cutting or breaking. Severing the stares of contempt, Lins speaker does not associate himself with the stares. The stares of contempt are stares filled with disdain; they are different from shaming stares. Lins speaker receives stares of contempt, or stares of disdain. Without any given reason, those staring do not give the speaker any respect. Lin seems to believe that those who stare contemptuously have disassociated themselves from the speaker. Her translation follows her analysis of the poem: societys hostile and contemptuous attitude is aimed towards what the speaker represents. In Lins case, she believes the speaker represents the poet. Hsu incorporates both Lins and Yehs use of contempt and shame: cutting off all glances of contempt and shame. Hsus speaker receives both scorn and shame. However, much like Lins

Eva Yung 20 evaluation (stated a bit earlier), Hsus speaker is cutting himself off from society; instead, opting to create a world he can call his own. In the third line of the poem, , Hsu provides a slightly different translation than Yeh and Lin: And the rapid flow of fresh blood, the sound sleep of bleached bones. The bleached bones are covered in a whitening chemical, cleaning the bones of any stains. Yeh and Lin use dry bones and dried bones, respectively. Dry bones suggest the bones were wiped clean of any liquid. Unlike bleached bones, the dry bones were not cleaned chemically. Lin translates the line a bit differently: And the quick flow of fresh blood, the deep sleep of dried bones. Although quick and rapid are synonyms, rapid is faster than quick. Deep sleep of dried bones suggests the bones have been dried for a long period. Sound sleep, as Hsu suggested, is similar to deep sleep. However, the period of sleep is not as long as deep sleep. Combining the two elements together, the bones are free from any stains and have been exposed for a few years. Yeh, opting to choose a shorter word, uses slumber of dry bones. Slumber evokes a shorter amount of time suggested by both Hsu and Lin. Thus, the bones of each translator seem to suggest the time duration each individual speaker has lived. A few lines down, appears. While does mean shepherd, the forces the meaning to change to nomads, or travelling shepherds. Yeh and Lin accurately translate , while Hsu purposely ignores , meaning tour or travel, in his translation: Frightened many shepherds and their charges. Hsu does not clarify if the shepherds are moving or not. Unlike nomads or the wandering shepherds, the many shepherds in Hsus translation do not move.

Eva Yung 21 The shepherds are out of place the poem is in constant motion, as stated before. Theyre contradicting the motion of the poem. The ninth line expressed different perspective of each translator. Lin shows her speaker as a prophet: With a blade of grass, I come and go with the spirit of God in the empty valley. The speaker is able to communicate with God whenever they please, as long as nature surrounds them. Hsus speaker reaches out to God in order to fulfill his spiritual needs: By way of a blade of grass I communicate with God in the deserted vale. The blade of grass helps the speaker contact God like a telephone. Yeh suggests the speaker is already with God and with nature: With a blade of grass, I traverse the empty vale with God. The speaker has found peace with nature and with God. In general, Hsus translation of Woman Forsaken is longer than and not as accurate as Lins and Yehs. An example of Hsus inaccuracy, in the sixth and seventh lines, Hsu repeats the verb howl: To howl behind my ears that never have been soiled./They howl like winds in the wilderness. In the original Chinese text, repeats in both lines, but the definition changes when different characters attach to it. means scream and means fierce wind. The excessive use of howl weakens Hsus translation. In addition, many of Hsus lines are confusing. He includes too much detail causing his readers to lose focus on the bigger picture. Choosing to explain each line carefully, Hsu sacrifices the readers imagination. A symbolist poet designs the poem to make the reader think. However, obsessing over the details, Hsu loses the purpose of this symbolist poem.

Eva Yung 22 The purpose of Woman Forsaken is the afterlife. To reiterate, Woman Forsaken forges the ability to ascend to the Heavens and leave behind the living. Although Li Jinfa uses a limited amount of dark symbols, he is able to express a cynical theme about life after death. Tenderness, Thoughts, Misfortune, and Woman Forsaken, each embody Li Jinfas unique use of dark symbolism. The images he created were unique and fresh. After scrutinizing Lin, Hsu, and Yehs translations, a symbolist poem can draw out each readers inner self as they attribute their own meanings to the reading process. The first to introduce symbolist poetry to China, Li Jinfa provides great poetic works for the future generation of Chinese poetry.

Eva Yung 23 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS Appendix A: Michelle Yeh, Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry, Tenderness 4 With my presumptuous fingertips I feel the warmth of your skin A young doe has lost her way in the forest; There is only the sound of dead leaves. Your soft breathing Calls out to my desolate heart. Conqueror of all, I have Smashed my shield and my spear. The loving look in your eyes Is like a butchers sign for slaughter. Your lips? No need to mention them Id rather trust your arms. Id rather believe in fairy tales Than in the love of a woman. (Im not good at comparison to begin with, But you are indeed like the shepherdess in a romance.) I have played all the tunes, But none pleases your ears; I have mixed all the colors, But none can match your beauty. Appendix B: Kai-Yu Hsu, Twentieth Century Chinese Poetry, Tenderness My fingers rude and crude Touch the warmth of your skin; The little fawn lost its way in the forest, There is only the sound of dead leaves. Your low whisper Resounds in my barren heart. A conqueror of all, I Have broken my spear and shield. Your eyes cast a glance, Cast a butchers warning;

Eva Yung 24 Your lips? No need to mention them, Id rather trust your arms. I believe in the fantasy of fairy tales, But not in a womans sentiment. (Ah, making comparisons is not my habit.) But you really resemble the shepherdess in a story. I played all the tunes, But nothing pleased your ear; All color have been exhausted. Yet nothing can describe your beauty. Appendix C: Compendium of Modern Chinese Literature, Tenderness () (Simplified edition) ()

Eva Yung 25 Appendix D: Julia C. Lin, Modern Chinese Poetry: An Introduction, Thoughts Like spoiled leaves splashing Blood on our Feet, Life is but A smile on lips Of Death. Beneath a half-dead moon, Now drinking, now singing, The sound of rent throat Scatters in the north wind. Ah! Go and caress your beloved. Open your door and window, Make her shy and timid, Let road dust cover Her lovely eyes. Is this timidity And wrath of Life? Like spoiled leaves splashing Blood on our Feet, Life is but A smile on lips Of Death. Appendix E: Compendium of Modern Chinese Literature, Thoughts () (Simplified edition)

Eva Yung 26 Appendix F: Compendium of Modern Chinese Literature, Misfortune () (Simplified edition)

Eva Yung 27 Appendix G: Julia C. Lin, Modern Chinese Poetry: An Introduction, The Abandoned Woman Long hair hangs disheveled before my eyes, Severing all hostile stares of contempt, And the quick flow of fresh blood, the deep sleep of dried bones. The dark night and mosquitoes arrive slowly together, Over the corner of this low wall, To scream behind my clean white ears Like the crazed winds raging in the wilderness, Frightening the wandering shepherds. With a blade of grass, I come and go with the spirit of God in the empty valley. My sorrow can be deeply imprinted only in the brains of roaming bees. Or with the waterfalls, let it be dashed down the hanging cliffs, To be then drifted away with the red leaves. The hidden grief burdens her every move. No fire of setting sun can melt the ennui of time Into ashes, and fly away through the chimney To color the wings of the roaming crows, And with them perch on the rocks of a roaring sea To listen quietly to the boatmans song. The frail old skirt mournfully sighs As she wanders among the graves. Never will there be hot tears To drop on the lawn To adorn the world. Appendix H: Kai-Yu Hsu, Twentieth Century Chinese Poetry, Woman Abandoned Long hair hand down before my eyes, Cutting off all glances of contempt and shame And the rapid flow of fresh blood, the sound sleep of bleached bones. Insects and the dark night arrive hand in hand, Over the corner of this low wall

Eva Yung 28 To howl behind my ears that never have been soiled. They howl like winds in the wilderness, Frightening many shepherds and their charges. By way of a blade of grass I communicate with God in the deserted vale. Only the memory of the roaming bees has recorded my sorrow. Or I may pour my sorrow along with the cascades tumbling over the cliff, And drift away among the red leaves. At each of her motions she feels the weight of her sorrow increasing; No fire of a setting sun can burn the ennui of time Into ashes to float away through the chimneys and attach themselves To the wings of itinerant crows, And with them perch on the rocks of a roaring sea, To listen to the boatmens songs. Sighs of her timework skirts, As she saunters in a graveyard. Never will she again drop a hot tear On the lawn To adorn this world. Appendix I: Compendium of Modern Chinese Literature, Woman Forsaken () (Simplified edition)

Eva Yung 29

Eva Yung 30 Works Cited Hsu, K.-Y. (1964). Twentieth Century Chinese Poetry. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books. Lin, J. (1973). Modern Chinese Poetry: An Intruduction. Univ of Washington Pr. Yeh, M. (1991). Modern Chinese Poetry: Theory and Practice Since 1917. Yale University Press. Yeh, M. (1992). Anthropology of Modern Chinese Poetry. Yale University Press.

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