Translation of “夏感“ (Summer vibes) by 梁横 (Heng, Liang)

Aspiration: “To translate, one must have a style of his own, for otherwise the translation will have no rhythm or nuance, which come from the process of artistically thinking through and molding the sentences; they cannot be reconstituted by piecemeal imitation. The problem of translation is to retreat to a simpler tenor of one’s own style and creatively adjust this to one’s author.”
– Paul Goodman, American Author

Here goes, “Summer vibes”

A nerve-racking, passionate, and rapid rhythm fills up the entire summer.

   It’s like a pot of water on top of a stove is gradually bubbling, steaming, and finally erupting aboil; it’s like the thin grass upon the hilltop is flourishing into an entire luscious field; it’s like the faint green smoke on top of the tree belt forming into a dark black wall. The lightly dancing bees and butterflies disappeared, with the annoying cicadas taking their place, singing in long chirps whilst hiding between the leaves. The fire-red sun bakes the ground into a golden yellow; the waves of wheat billows, striking the faraway mountains and the clouds in the sky, striking the cars on the road, like waves striking a ship. The golden color dominates the world; a warm breeze floats over it all, sending a sweet smell of overly ripe wheat. The agile, beautiful aura of the spring has been accumulating for half a year. At this point, it has brewed with great momentum, rolling over the plains, rising between earth and heaven, into a summer breeze. Alas, summer is here. 

Golden yellow is the color of summer. From the perspective of an artist, this should make sense. The color of spring is cool green, like ripples, like fresh bamboo, filled with a hopeful sentimentality; the color of autumn is hot red, like the sunset, symbolizing an end, a closure to a story. Summer is right between spring and autumn, symbolizing hope that hasn’t been drained out yet: it’s exactly the right time to forget the past and forge ahead. Look, the wheat has just been harvested! In the field, the sorghum with its trumpet raised toward the sky, the corn, the cotton, and the crawling melon vine ushers out fervent energy. At this point, they are no longer growing slowly by the faint spring rain: instead, they are vigorously transpiring by the sweltering heat of summer, making their last attempt at growth before autumn’s arrival.

   The rhythm of summer is nerve-wracking; the last nerve of everyone has been drawn tight. Look at the farmers waving their sickles, bent over, dripping sweat, with one fervid thought: “faster, faster!”; the wheat is selling at the market, and their next thought is: “thresh more, even more!”. It’s already tiring enough that they have to rise up at the break of dawn and sleep at midnight, but in the middle of the night they also have to hear if winds have picked up and see if gray clouds cover the sky. After the threshing process, it seems like they could take a breath at last, but no, they have to start applying fertilizer and water new seeds. Farmers have little time off, but in May, they are five times as busy; on their shoulders lies the weight of both summer and autumn.

   What a pity it is, that authors from the past have written countless works about the flowers of spring and the moonlight of autumn, but there isn’t even a glimpse of summer. Maybe it’s because the sun is warm in the spring and ripples in the fall, but in the summer, it’s always the cause of the bitter sweat of toilsome labor. Carefree people naturally do not like this nerve-racking rhythm. However, I want to loudly praise this golden season, for there is none like it. 

                                                                                                          June of 1984

Original version:

夏天的旋律是紧张的,人们的每一根神经都被绷紧。你看田间那些挥镰的农民,弯着腰,流着汗,只是想着快割,快割;麦子上场了,又想着快打,快打。他们早起晚睡亦够苦了,半夜醒来还要听听窗纸,可是起了风;看看窗外,天空可是遮上了云。麦子打完了,该松一口气了,又得赶快去给秋苗追肥`浇水。“田家少闲月, 五月人倍忙”,他们的肩上挑着夏秋两季。



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