萌萌哒 - Meng meng da

Sing liu, liu sweet and low, before you go,

the green as willow arms of merman ding

Slice through icy waters of Lake Dongting

to wreathe in protecting weeds my oily body;

watching the long moon-sown nights of my youth,

A bubble of river, a hover between death and breath.


长江后浪催/推前浪

Cháng jiāng hòu làng cuī qián làng

Yangtze waves behind, drive the ones to come



Sing liu liu, so grave and slow, before you go

The coarse as sand hands of my master ding

Lovingly gouge and dredge a cradle for my bed

To reveal memories of river-born ancestral rice,

dreams as concrete beams to mandate heaven

and me, drowning in all the anxieties of extinction.


长江后浪催/推前浪

Cháng jiāng hòu làng cuī qián làng

Yangtze waves behind, drive the ones to come


The river-reflecting willows are ghosts of song,

Beneath the bridge, time flows, 浩浩汤汤  (hao hao dan dang)

Yet balanced between banks, on a boat-dot of ink

fisherman ding’s fingers play the current strings

Peering after the smile of his porpoise daughter,

Sing liu, liu, so sweetly, stay, you must not go...


长江后浪催/推前浪

Cháng jiāng hòu làng cuī qián làng

Yangtze waves behind, drive the ones to come.


Notes:

萌萌哒 - meng meng da - means 'adorable' - the name given to the porpoise by a vote.

长江后浪催/推前浪 - Cháng jiāng hòu làng cuī qiánlàng - a phrase meaning the new replaces the old ( literally the rear waves of the Yangtze river drive on the ones in front)

浩浩汤汤  - hao hao dang dang - vast and powerful


The Yangtze River porpoise was Critically Endangered because of environmental changes in the Yangtze river basin. There are perhaps only 1000 individuals still alive. However recently efforts by the Chinese people have begun to offer hope of survival. Mr Ding used to be a fisherman on Dongting Lake in China's Hunan province. Now he dedicates his life to protecting the River Porpoise. He once said, ' This has become more than a job. I care more about the porpoise than my own grandchildren.'








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