November 23, 2016

More ways of looking at Wang Wei, via Weinberger

Deer Park 

The mountain is empty, no man can be seen.
but the echo of human sounds is heard.
Returning sunlight, entering the deep forest, s
hines again on green moss, above.

— ARTHUR SZE, 2001 (Sze, The Silk Dragon

 The Chinese-American poet Arthur Sze follows Snyder (# 19) in translating both meanings of xiang (Snyder: human sounds and echoes, Sze: the echo of human sounds). And, like Snyder, he places the moss above.

In an interesting essay, “The Wang River Sequence, A Prospectus” (included in Civil Disobediences, edited by Anne Waldman & Lisa Birman), Sze connects this poem to a later one in the sequence, “Bamboo Grove,” which he translates as:
I sit alone in the secluded bamboo grove
and play the zither and whistle along.
In the deep forest no one knows,
the bright moon comes to shine on me.

The moonlight coming into the forest to shine on the poet is the twin of the late sunlight shining again on the moss. “In a sense,” Sze writes, “the green moss may be the poet’s mind.”



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