Friday, March 14, 2008

Dust in the Wind

The rock band Kansas’ guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote the 1977 single hit song Dust in the Wind after reading a book of Native American poetry. The line in the book that caught his attention was, according to a story, "For All We Are Is Dust In The Wind." While you can listen to it by clicking to the link above, the lyrics of the song along with my Chinese translation are included here for your enjoyment. Although I could not locate the original poem, I can imagine what might have inspired the poet as she/he contemplated the meanings of life and glory.

閉起雙眼片刻, I close my eyes,
瞬間即逝. only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams,
過眼便煙消雲散. pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind,
all they are is dust in the wind

Same old song,
just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do,
crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

Dust in the wind, 宛如風前之塵埃.

all they are is dust in the wind

Don't hang on,
nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away,
and all your money won't another minute buy

Dust in the wind, 宛如風前之塵埃.

all they are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind, 萬物皆如風前之塵埃.

Everything is dust in the wind

800 years earlier, Monk Saigyo (1118-1190 A.D.), one of the most famous poets in the Japanese history wrote many somber and melancholic poems. He was born to a noble family, served the emperor as a warrior, but chose to become a monk at age 22. Ms. Shi Su-Qin 施叔青,a well-known contemporary Chinese writer, used one of Monk Saigyo’s poems to set the stage and the title for her recently published Chinese novel entitled 風前塵埃 or literally “Dust in the Wind”. The novel is the part 2 of her Taiwan Trilogy and tells stories during the period of Japanese Colonization. The poem was introduced as the badly wounded Japanese Governor reflects on, back to the governor’s mansion from the bloody victory over the indigenous people of eastern Taiwan. Below is the Chinese translation in her book alone with my English translation of the poem.

在超脫世俗的心裡, In mind above the earthly
悲哀突然湧上心頭, Sadness rose suddenly,
As fowls left the swamp,
在秋天的夕暮. Against the autumn sunset.
Life is frail, the rising will fall, 驕縱蠻橫者,來日無多.

And arrogant and ruthless are dated.
As dreams in Spring nights,
The braves and stalwarts will perish,
For all we are is dust in the wind

For all we are is dust in the wind, we shall live fully our lives and leave our marks.

Talk to you soon!

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