Chen Rende, Yuting by courtesy name, is the director of Chinese Poetry Society and the vice President of Chongqing Poetry Society.
Preface: I visited Li Zhongdai, a hero of Taierzhuang on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Success of the War of Resistance. I heard him talk about the war so vividly as if happening before my eyes. I was so touched and wrote this poem upon my return.
By CHEN Rende
Tr. ZHAO Yanchun
The Japanese from east rushed in like a flood;
The land collapsed, the sky fell with a thud.
Beacon fire everywhere sent raging rays;
The moon over Lugou Bridge was set ablaze.
Lions roared, as if shaking the mountaintop;
A million troops passed Border Pass nonstop.
A broadsword tune they sang, stirring the air;
Before slaying the Japs, return they’d ne’er.
Flags and standards fluttered, shading the sun;
In Terrace Vill war fire did wildly run.
Guns and cannons thundered, with clouds o’ercast;
Devils and demons howled, looking aghast.
Our hometown soon turned into a burned land;
Bones and corpses o’erlying one could not stand.
Our soldiers howled aloud towards the skies,
Swaying their broadswords and bulging their eyes.
For their land they’d give their all to the war;
In the front they formed a dare-to-die corps.
The three foot long sword gave off a cold flash;
Which would chop the devil and his head crash.
The corps leader was Li Zongdai by name;
Beyond Yantai Shangdong Province he came.
He mastered Kungfu at nineteen years old;
North Academy saw him strong and bold.
Now it was getting dark and the wind stopped;
Without the foes knowing it, our men popped.
Like tigers down the mountainside they dashed;
With vigor and swish-swish of swords they slashed.
Zhongdai shouted with his broadsword up raised:
“We’d rather die than be conquered, debased.”
He dashed and slashed through the enemy line;
It was all blood when his blade gave a shine.
A Jap there from his sheath drew his sword out;
“Bagayalao!” the Jap ghost gave a shout.
The two blades crossed each other in their strife
It was a matter of chance, death or life.
The brave man rose like a hawk in the air;
Like lightning he waved his sword to glare.
Crack, a devil was cut, yelling to die,
His armor splashed with blood jetting high.
Now back, not yet time for reward of war,
They heard cannons before the village roar.
His broadsword not honed, his armor still bound,
He rushed again onto the battleground.
Dust whirled along to the end of the sky;
Enemy’s bullets through the front did fly.
A shot through his eye and out from his ear!
What a story! What a story to hear!
How great! He did not fall to the hell;
He was moved one thousand miles to get well.
’Cross North Pei his story spread like a tide;
A One-eye giant, he was known far and wide.
To fight a battle is a fighter’s mind;
How can he to sickbed be long confined?
Beacon fire lit up the mid-plain at night;
His broadsword on the wall shimmered light.
To go to war, he wrote for a request;
Though one-eyed, he could serve his country best
To revenge the land, one could give his whole,
Let alone he was wholesome heart and soul.
He gave back eight hundred taels of pension
As part of army’s pay and provision.
Now starting off, downstream he stroke his oar,
And sang a tune of broadsword, and sang more.
Back in the battleground, fight on the go,
White bones overlying looked much like snow.
Eight years’war we could hardly understand;
Blood was spilled, staining each inch of the land.
A strong one through all battles triumphed back;
Disarmed, he’d live riverside in a shack.
Sixty years is like a dream it does seem;
He’s still swaying his broadsword in his dream.
The old hero’s memory fails, unknown;
In the depth of the lane he lives alone.
Only when each year’s V Day comes on
Stick in hand, he can talk about things gone.
A great hero’s legend I do admire
The pine I could look at, as reaches higher.
Lots of shot marks you can find on his head
And imagine how the soldiers had bled.
He sings me a song of broadsword again,
Like the Yellow throws up its waves amain.
His heroic pride does not drop at all;
So moved, I feel my tears downright fall.
赵彦春，博士生导师，上海大学中国文化翻译研究中心主任，国际学术期刊Translating China 主编，国际汉学与教育研究会会长、传统文化翻译与国际传播专业委员会会长、中国先秦史学会国学双语研究会执行会长，中国语言教育研究会副会长，其翻译作品，被誉为“有史以来最美汉英翻译”“神翻译”“神还原”。
Biosketch of the Translator:
ZHAO Yanchun: Professor of English at Shanghai University, Director of Center for Translation of Chinese Culture, Editor of Translating China, President of International Sinology and Education Society, President of Chinese Culture Translation and International Promotion Committee, Executive President of Chinese Classics Bilinguals’ Association, Vice President of China Language Education Association, a proponent of the principle of translating poesie into poesie and classic into classic. His translations have been widely reported and acclaimed as the unprecedented Chinese-English translation, the best, the choice, the cream.