Translation of “菊花台” (A Bed of Chrysanthemums) by 周杰伦 (Jay Chou)

“Translation is the art of failure.”
― Umberto Eco

okay. I’m still going to try…                                                         A Bed of Chrysanthemums

Image result for 菊花台
Scene from the music video; song supposedly written about the artist’s mother relating to his role in the movie

Your delicate tears glisten with pain
A pale, crescent moon hangs onto a past
Too endless of a night, condensing into frost
Who, upon the pagoda, is frozen with despair?
Rain lightly taps upon a crimson windowsill
My thoroughly planned life, jostled by a breeze
Dreams, now distant, merely a wisp of incense
Alas, your image, gone with the wind

Chorus:
Remaining chrysanthemums, glistening with pain
Your smile, tainted with age
Flowers fall, people lose faith, and my burdens silently trickle
Northern winds howl; dawn has failed to arrive
And I still cannot cut a shadow of your haunting image from my mind
Leaving me alone with my own reflection on the lake’s surface

At dusk, flowers drift above their resplendent trance
A withering world where fate is unbearable
Don’t you worry about the length of the river; my heart is chilled, torn in two
Afraid you will never arrive on land; afraid you will drift your life away
To whom does this territory, chaotic with battle, belong?
There, my full-length armor, wails with the vicissitudes of life
Dawn is barely breaking; you quietly sigh
How subtle is the sadness of the night

Image result for 菊花台
A scene from the movie featuring this song

Original lyrics:

你的泪光柔弱中带伤
惨白的月弯弯勾住过往
夜太漫长凝结成了霜
是谁在阁楼上冰冷的绝望
雨轻轻弹朱红色的窗
我一生在纸上被风吹乱
梦在远方化成一缕香
随风飘散你的模样

副歌:
菊花残满地伤
你的笑容已泛黄
花落人断肠我心事静静淌
北风乱夜未央
你的影子剪不断
徒留我孤单在湖面成双

花已向晚飘落了灿烂
凋谢的世道上命运不堪
愁莫渡江秋心拆两半
怕你上不了岸一辈子摇晃
谁的江山马蹄声狂乱
我一身的戎装呼啸沧桑
天微微亮你轻声地叹
一夜惆怅如此委婉

Disclaimer: (probably should’ve been placed at the beginning, but it’ll ruin the mood) I’m fairly sure there are other versions of attempted translations somewhere else online; I can already hear the criticisms, saying how I just copied from somewhere else, or that it’s not hard to Google Translate some words. As long as I know exactly how this came to be, it’s okay. Also, there are a lot of mistakes and a lot of misinterpretations, because I’m merely an amateur. I’ll gladly revise it if you point anything out to me. 🙂

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