While guest conducting in Kaohsiung Dec 2022, I absolutely fell in love with my colleague Chen Anyu’s gorgeous rendition of 冉天豪 Ran Tian Hao’s choral work titled 《願》”Wishes”. The superb text setting and atmosphere painting music aside, the poetry by 蔣勳 Jiang Xun was an equally glorious piece of poetry – a fiery unapologetic love declaration that I think really deserves to be shared and appreciated by anyone who is interested in Chinese literature. If you want to send a message to impress your (potential) other half with Chinese poetry to declare your undying love, this could be it!
Here’s a relatively functional English translation I cooked up – it’s obviously not meant as a poetic translation (I’m no poet!) and serves primarily as a study for choristers/conductors who are non-native speakers! The English translation I came up with can be used freely as long as it’s credited. Enjoy!
我愿是那月 为你 再一次圆满
如果你远行 我愿是那路 准备了平坦 随你去到远方
当你走累了 我愿是夜晚 是路旁的客栈 有干净的枕席 供你睡眠
“Wishes” by Jiang Xun (translated by Albert Tay)
I wish to be the azaleas all over the mountains
If only for just one Spring Day with no regrets;
I wish to be the countless stars,
Giving up my light to a Summer night;
I wish to be the millions of rivers and streams,
Flowing to the one and only ocean;
I wish to be that Moon
To be full once more, for you.
Were you an island,
I wish to be the seas embracing your shores;
If you raised your sails,
I wish to be the gentle caressing wind and waves;
Were you on a long journey,
I wish to be that road,
having prepared a smooth path,
to travel with you to afar.
When you grow weary from travelling,
I wish to be the night,
Or the roadside inn,
With clean pillows and sheets,
For you to sleep on.
If you dreamed in sleep,
I am the traces of tears on your pillow.
I wish to be the arm,
to let you lean on.
Even when we are gray-haired,
I still wish to be the fireplace at your feet,
Reminiscing the good old times of yesteryears.
Were you the laughter,
I would be the chorus echoing you;
Were you the tears,
I would be the starlight accompanying you.
If you are laid in earth,
I would still wish to be the green grass by your side,
If you turned into ashes,
I would become dust.
If, ah if…
If you feel nostalgic about this life,
I will make one more wish,
To continue our love in the next life.
P.S. I really should try to sleep instead of getting all excited and staying up till 3am reading and translating poetry. Good night guys!