"Chinese Translation" as written by and Matthew Stephen Ward....
I sailed a wild, wild sea
Climbed up a tall, tall mountain
I met a old, old man
Beneath a weeping willow tree
He said now if you got some questions
Go and lay them at my feet
But my time here is brief
So you'll have to pick just three

[Chorus]
And I said
What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart
And how can a man like me remain in the light
And if life is really as short as they say
Then why is the night so long
And then the sun went down
And he sang for me this song

See I once was a young fool like you
Afraid to do the things
That I knew I had to do
So I played an escapade just like you
I played an escapade just like you
I sailed a wild, wild sea
Climbed up a tall, tall mountain
I met an old, old man
He sat beneath a sapling tree
He said now if you got some questions
Go and lay them at my feet
But my time here is brief
So you'll have to pick just three

[Chorus]


Lyrics submitted by ze_newie83

"Chinese Translation" as written by Matthew Stephen Ward

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Chinese Translation song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentI think the answers are simply...there are no answers at all.

    By giving no answer, the man under the tree is saying that there are no solution. You are suffering because you are bothering yourself with those question, thus the answer is to forget all your pain and enjoy your life. "my time is brief"

    If I am not wrong, that is a belief that people believe in in Buddhism. I believe this song has Buddhism reference, because of the image of a difficult pilgrim that the men goes through and how they always end up satisfied with their questions under a tree. Buddha also went through a long and difficult pilgrim and later get enlightened under a tree, he then delicated himself into aiding mankind by giving out sermons and answering questions.
    eskimotaroon July 14, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI'm reading these lyrics and the responses and I think that the surface has only barely been scratched. I would argue that this song is about perseverance. The message is extremely encouraging to me.

    We can all figure out the story. The characters are caught in a vicious cycle. They recognize the difficulty we all experience in life. Life can be extremely dark. We can be disappointed, carry dark views of ourselves, and wonder if we will ever truly experience peace in the nights that seem to drag on incessantly. It's a feeling most if not all people experience at some point.

    Feelings like these invoke our innate "fight or flight" response. The first old man in the story claims that he used to be foolish and played "an escapade just like you." Escapade (dictionary.com defines it as an escape from confinement or restraint)describes the multitude of people who tend to respond to the dilemmas of life by retreating into them and running from them in order to find the answers. In the end, the escapade is over, the dilemma never went away, and the only thing you can do is find the nearest tree and warn others from making the same mistake.

    I think the message here is that in the midst of it, those who really triumph in life are those that aren't "afraid to do the things that I was supposed to do." The answer to the question is that one needs to pick themselves by the bootstraps and get going. If we look at these issues, most of the time we can figure out what needs to be done. Those that succeed do so in spite of the internal conflict and end up finding the answer to that conflict.

    I see similar themes in the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Solomon looks at his life near the end and sees that nothing really matters in the grand scheme of eternity. Everything seems to be in vain. In the end, Solomon realizes that the answer is that we have been given our time on this earth and despite the hardships we must persevere in order to live a full life.

    Great song. M. Ward is a wise man. Hands down.

    Benjaminmeilson October 10, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentYeah, the line "I once was a fool like you afraid to do the things I knew I had to do" implies that the speaker (who is asking the questions) already knows the answers.

    It's possible that the answers are knowable but not sayable (like Wittgenstein said: "What we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence"). And trying to say them is just a way of delaying, of running from the reality of the situation.

    You have to live your life. The questions distill down to this:
    1. How do we get over the wrongs others have done to us?
    2. How do we get over the mistakes we've made?
    3. Why is life short and scary?

    And the answers are: get over it kid, buck up and face your life with joy.
    thriggleon February 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell it's just so true isn't it?

    If you're ever in the dark, as in you're pretty sad, then you just ask questions like the questions he's asking. But what's the point? You just go through so much thinking and you end up back where you started, asking yourself the exact same questions, so the best thing to do is give up moaning to yourself and sit eagerly for the sun to rise again.
    sixfoottallrabbiton February 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIts about wasting time the its about running and not facing your destiny remember the old man says to him "I once was a fool like you afraid to do the things I knew I had to do I played an escapade like you" So the guy pretends like these are all ligit questions when they not they questions no one can answer so he thinks he has found a cause or a destiny in trying to find the answers to the questions when all he is doing is just running and wasting time as the previous guy did so the moral of the story face your fears and go out there and be the best you you can be and face your real destiny head on. Well thats my take on it any other thoughts ?
    paid31on February 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Question is what does this song me to me? The Answer?......Everything!
    *WASTEofPAINT*on September 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song reflects a circular infinitude. You notice the progression of the narrative spirals into infinity:

    Man climbs mountain, talks to old man, old mans tells the Man about when he was young, and climbed a mountain and talked to an old man, who tells the old man about when he was young etc....
    couldBanyoneon October 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYep... although the tree has aged from a sapling to a weeping willow, so at least there is a progression there (or if not, at least the periodicity of the cycle of life is different for the tree).
    wraton November 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has such a cozy feeling. And I love the story it tells.
    lostrockon January 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttheres a really cool music video for this on youtube
    lukewagoneeron February 18, 2007   Link

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