Correspondence from the Yellow Crane Tower: Translating 崔顥 (Cui Hao) ||| Drunken Boat

For Cui Hao 1

To Cui Hao:

Their people mounted the yellow crane
but who is freer at the top? The yellow crane
has been moving for a while, or is already
gone by the time my word arrives
that white clouds have emptied the air
forever. Finally, the clear day appears
over a clear crater lake.
Hello Cui Hao,
from this world where the tree of life
is a fragrant bizarro of your life.
Tell me where the sun sets over your mountains.
From the crane I am saying goodnight, day
falling over the water
the worry are drops, like Visine
lightening the dust from your eyes.

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Jen Hyde‘s practice experiments with generative translation and new technology for the production of printed things. Her work is informed by the material culture of her environment, community, and heritage. She holds an MFA in poetry from NYU and is the recipient of writing fellowships from NYU Shanghai and Ithaca College. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

崔顥 (Cui Hao) was a poet and court official who lived and wrote during the Tang Dynasty.

Hyde’s translation of “Correspondence from the Yellow Crane Tower” originally appeared in Drunken Boat.