Á La Carte: The Spring of Rapeseed Flowers

[translated poetry]

Thousands of Chinese Acres of Spring

When the budding of a tree isn’t closely observed
Rapeseed flowers     have unfolded the season by their full blossoms
The golden dream of the earth     thus rolls out under the cloud flowers
Is woven in the wind      and undulates to the farthest in March

Rapeseed flowers have unrolled thousands of Chinese acres of spring
They spread green willfully     disseminate yellow fervently
As if they aspire to dissect the spring into two halves
At a moment like this     any language seems redundant
The mind jumps onto the clouds quite unexpectedly
And looks up at the spring     from another angle


Downpouring Flower Ocean 

Tapping to the beat of the spring           clusters of dark green
Pin up golden hairclips             one flower at first
Then a bunch       a levee          and a field
Following the ground undulation            spread out into flower waves

The rapeseed flowers easily cross over a river
Climb onto the terrace       flood to the hills
The rolling waves       are replicated by the spring again and again
Their adventurous eyes look higher and higher        farther and farther

Their aroma scrubs the earth with the wind
A flower waterfall rushes down from a hill       and runs a thousand miles


A Sweet Journey 

Following the aroma of rapeseed flowers         closest to the spring
Two butterflies        carry happiness from one flower ocean
To another flower ocean         A swarm of bees
Swing in the flowers        trying to ripen the spring zephyr
Into a more intoxicating breeze        All these elves
Play in the chest of the spring        enchantedly and indulgently

On this sweet journey to the depth of the season
I am worried that the bees       are too obsessed with brewing life
To remember time        I am also worried the two butterflies
With tiny fragile wings           can’t fly out of the boundless flower ocean




1. 千万亩春天

油菜花 用盛开的方式打开季节
大地金色的梦想 在云朵下铺开
在风里编织 三月向远方涌动

肆意地绿 拼命地黄
这样的时刻 语言会成为摆设
变换一个角度 仰望春天


2. 倾倒的花海

踏着春天的节拍 一簇簇墨绿
别上金色发簪 起先是一朵
接着是一束 一垄 一大片
随着大地起伏 绵延成一片花浪

登上梯田 涌向山峦
滚动的花浪 被春天一再复制
把猎奇的目光一再抬高 拉远

花瀑从一座山上倾倒 流泻千里


3. 甜蜜之旅

沿着油菜花香 靠近春天
两只蝴蝶 把幸福从一片花海
搬向另一片花海 一群蜜蜂
在花间荡秋千 试图把春风
酝酿得更加醉人 这些精灵
在春天怀抱里嬉戏 如痴如醉

我担心一群蜜蜂 忙于酝酿生活
遗忘了时间 我还担心两只蝴蝶
微薄的羽翼 飞不出浩瀚的花海


Translator Statement

The reason that I selected these three poems is that I want to develop novel transcreation techniques and help to establish the transcreation subarea in China. Also, I hope that these poems can show English readers those kinds of objects that are often depicted by Chinese poets in the Chinese culture. These poems demonstrate not only the Chinese way of thinking but also the logic of the Chinese language, which may help to expand the English literature to some extent.

My translation of these three poems basically follows the classic Chinese translation theory of fidelity, that is, there isn’t much creative modification in my translation. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, when translating “肆意地绿” and “拼命地黄,” meaning “green recklessly and yellow desperately,” I used the expressions of “spread green willfully” and “disseminate yellow fervently” and thus transformed negative words into positive words.

In addition, I altered the meaning of “scrubs the earth in the wind” to “scrubs the earth with the wind” which sounds more logical. Also, I translated “靠近” which means “to get close to” to “closest to” in order to fit into the scene developed by the original text which depicts the spring views.

Considering a transcreation skill called restructuring on which I have performed some experiments, in the translation of “trying to ripen the spring zephyr,” the infinitive verb “to ripen” actually is restructured from the following line. This treatment handled an innate difference between the Chinese and English language by placing the infinitive verb “to ripen” before the object “the spring zephyr.”


Chen Du is a Voting Member of American Translators Association and a member of the Translators Association of China with a Master’s degree in biophysics from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master’s degree in radio physics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. She has revised more than eight chapters of the Chinese translation of the biography of Helen Snow, Helen Foster Snow—An American Woman in Revolutionary China. She is the author of book Successful Personal Statements. Find her online at ofsea.com.

Mr. Dong Li is the author of books Lost in Maze (Chinese) and The Charm of Thoughts (Chinese). He is also a winner of the Chinese Young Poet Award 2018.