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Robert Frost is walking under some tall, leafless trees in winter. For reasons unknown, he is not too happy. A crow lands on a branch and knocks off some powder snow, which falls down on Robert. This somehow makes him feel happier.

Dust of Snow BY ROBERT FROST

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

This is my best attempt, but I am not too happy with it. Can you please make it better.

Also, how to break it into lines:

被乌鸦从铁杉树撞落下的积雪改变了我的心境让我不再今天感到难过。

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  • 乌鸦是不好的象征,曹操《短歌行》中这样写道:“月明星稀 ,乌鹊南飞。绕树三匝,何枝可依?” Jul 9 at 3:40
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my humble suggestions:

寒鴉巢鐵杉 chaam3

霏霏雪霑衫 saam1

振衣清吾襟 (lapel “衣襟” & mind “襟懷”, a pun here)

抖擻去憂擔 daam1

have fun :)

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  • Thank you very much, a brilliant rendition!
    – Pedroski
    Jul 6 at 21:57
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Since I am no poet of any ilk, below is just some fun attempt to pass the time in order to maintain sanity due to lockdown boredom. Please don't take it too seriously. Just have a good laugh.

乌鸦颤铁杉树

雪落全身覆

更改我心目

丢弃今天的Rue

BTW, it has to be read in Mandarin; reading it in, say, Cantonese would not work for the rhyme.

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  • Well, what happened to "rue"? How about 恤? 树、覆、目、恤 Does that work?
    – Pedroski
    Jul 6 at 21:54
  • "Rue" is used as an unexpected, playful inter-linguistic "hooK", (A "hook" is typically one or two sentences / words designed to grab the reader’s attention. Much like a fish gets literally hooked by bait), and of course "Rue" just happens to rhyme with 树、覆、目. Your suggestion to use either 树、覆、目 again would be to commit the great literary "sin" of "unimaginative repetition"? As for 恤, (Xù), though rhyming wise it is mildly tenable, but it means, generally, something like "sympathy / pity" which is far from "Rue" which has the basic elements of "regret", "sorrow", "repentance"? Jul 7 at 3:42
  • Oooppssss, I misread this comment, "How about 恤? 树、覆、目、恤 Does that work?" Please disregard the part about "unimaginative repetition"? My comment on "Rue" and 恤 ,however, remains. Jul 7 at 4:20
  • Seems we both have little to do today: 同本义 [worry] (形声。从心,血声。本义: 忧虑), but, the poet is always right!
    – Pedroski
    Jul 7 at 4:34
  • "but, the poet is always right!" That's why it's called "poetic license" Jul 7 at 6:19
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白話文:

看着烏鴉從铁杉树上碰落的雪花像灰塵般的散佈身上, 我的心情豁然開朗, 讓這一天不致於停留在那聒噪帶來的陰鬱(不悅)中.

Note, in general, the Chinese have no love for 烏鴉. When a person 出門碰上烏鴉叫 is considered a "bad luck" for the day, or the trip. You can joke someone has "烏鴉嘴" to blame him for what he said, in expecting a bad outcome of something, that actually happened in the way as he had expected.

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  • Didn't know that about the crow being unlucky. Probably because they are scavengers, they will dine on the dead!
    – Pedroski
    Jul 6 at 21:56
  • Chinese do see crow as an unlucky omen, but at the same time we respect crow for it symbolizes 孝德 (filial piety), and admire their interagent
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 6 at 22:02
  • @Tang Ho Yes, it is interesting, I don't know why the ancient guy has selected it as an example. Maybe there is some truth to it.
    – r13
    Jul 6 at 23:09
  • Whether crows have good or bad reputations depend on who you ask and from which culture. As for the English, crows traditionally protect The Crown and the Tower of London; a superstition holds that "if the Tower of London's ravens / crows are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it" Crows / ravens also got some press time due to Edgar Allan Poe's poem, "The Raven" All in all the crows' black plumage, an un-bird like cry and eats carrion, do not sit well with many cultures where black means evil or harbingers of misfortune and death. Jul 7 at 4:13
  • @Wayne Wasn't crow closely associated with the demon, at least in the literature and movies :)
    – r13
    Jul 7 at 4:54
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被乌鸦从铁杉树撞落下的积雪改变了我的心境让我不再今天感到难过。

Grammatically:

乌鸦从铁杉树撞落的积雪, (被 and 下 can be omitted)

改变了我的心境,

让我今天不再感到难过。 (今天不再感到 instead 不再今天感到 - stating time first)

My interpretation:

看那乌鸦从天而降,

踢下铁杉上一团白雪,

使我心情突然改变,

今天也不是尽是坏事。

Watch that crow descend from the sky,

Kick off a cloud of snow on the hemlock,

Made my mood suddenly changed,

Today is not all bad things.

~

It is possible to make a classical poem out of this context, but I choose to translate it in the modern poem form to match the original better

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  • I love that last line! 今天也不是尽是坏事。You are a poet!
    – Pedroski
    Jul 6 at 21:41
  • It's fine to omit 下 in 被乌鸦从铁杉树撞落下的积雪,but I wouldn't suggest omitting 被.
    – dan
    Jul 6 at 22:23

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