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charles moyer <[log in to unmask]>
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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Dec 2004 09:08:42 -0500
text/plain (106 lines)
Thank you Hiroko Uno.

THIS IS JUST TO SAY by William Carlos Williams

    I have eaten
    the plums
    that were in
    the icebox

    And which
    you were probably
    for breakfast

    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so sweet
    and so cold

>From: bernard dew <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: "The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter"
>Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 08:56:00 -0400

> blue plums sounds better anyways... just my my opinion....
> Hiroko Uno wrote:
>> Dear Dan,
>> In the original poem Li-Po uses the Chinese character meaning the color
>> blue, but the same character also means another color green as well as
>> youth
>> or immature condition in some context. So, "blue plum" means unripe fruit
>> of plum, which is actually green.
>> Unripe fruit of plum is called "blue plum" in Japan, too. By the way, in
>> Japan we call one of the colors of a signal "blue," although it is
>> actually
>> green.
>> According to Peter Brooker, Arthur Waley "has 'green plums'" in his
>> translation. Authur Cooper also has "green plums" in his book "Lipo and
>> Tufu" in Penguin Books. However, I think Pound is correct, using "blue"
>> here, because he follows Chinese and Japanese cultures and because Li-Po
>> actually uses the character "blue."
>> According to Kumiko Kakehi, a Japanese scholar of Chinese ancient poetry,
>> the line with "blue plum" refers to another ancient Chinese poem
>> "Hyo-Yu-Bai" in Shikyo (I am sorry these are in Japanese
>> pronunciation), in
>> which very young people express their first pure love with unripe blue
>> plums.
>> Therefore, in this poem Li-Po suggests the faint or indistinct love
>> between
>> the two young children by the "blue plums."
>> Hiroko Uno (Japanese)
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Back door" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 4:41 PM
>> Subject: "The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter"
>>> I was preparing Pound's translation of "The River Merchant's
>>> Wife: A Letter" for class, when I came across another translation
>>> of the same poem. This one is by a Gary Geddes, and is from the
>>> Chinese original. He called it "The Song of Ch'ang-kan".
>>> Pound's is from the Japanese Rihaku version.
>>> Here are the first few lines of the Geddes:
>>> "While the hair barely covered my forehead
>>> I plucked a flower and played at my front door.
>>> You came by riding a bamboo horse
>>> and we circled the well, innocent as green plums."
>>> Why Pound would have used blue for the
>>> color of the plums. Green makes more sense?
>>> WHich translation is correct?
>>> Any thoughts?
>>> Thanks,
>>> Dan.
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