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Homechinese poemsDream of an Old Town by Bian Zhilin~卞之琳《古镇的梦》 with English Translations

Dream of an Old Town by Bian Zhilin~卞之琳《古镇的梦》 with English Translations

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Dream of an Old Town
《古镇的梦》

Two sounds in the old town
小镇上有两种声音
—equally melancholic
一样的寂寥:
are the daily fortune-teller’s gong,
白天是算命锣,
and the nightly watchman’s clappers.
夜里是梆子。
Not apt to disturb other’s dreams,
敲不破别人的梦,
as if in a dream himself,
做着梦似的
the blind fortune-teller walks the streets
瞎子在街上走,
step by step,
一步又一步。
knowing so well which flagstones are low,
他知道哪一块石头低,
which high;
哪一块石头高,
how old the daughters of a certain family might be…
哪一家姑娘有多大年纪。
Then making others go deeper into their dreams,
敲沉了别人的梦,
he himself as if in a dream,
做着梦似的
the watchman goes his rounds
更夫在街上走,
step by step,
一步又一步。
knowing well which flagstones are low,
他知道哪一块石头低,
which high;
哪一块石头高,
which doors are tightly shut.
哪一家门户关得最严密。
Listen, it’s the third watch already,
“三更了,你听哪,
Mao Er’s dad!
毛儿的爸爸,
The boy cries ever in his dreams,
这小子吵得人睡不成觉,
stopping us from sleeping;
老在梦里哭,
we must have his fortune told tomorrow.
明天替他算算命吧?”
Comes midnight for one,
是深夜,
a cold afternoon for the other.
又是清冷的下午:
He with clappers crosses the bridge,
敲梆的过桥,
he with gong crosses also,
敲锣的又过桥,
while beneath the water flows on, ever murmuring.
不断的是桥下流水的声音。

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