Poems of Meng Jiao
Novice monks dance in their patchwork robes.
Moving, they seem to linger in the air.
Even their idle steps seem awakened, as the
Fragrant incense helps them rise.
A sob catches in the throat of spring, as this
Swarm of butterflies creates its radiance.
Young monks at play and it's already late.
What could attract them back into this loneliness?
This flow of grace departs without cease.
Morning flowers, too, carelessly fade away.
Translating Chinese poetry is like spending a few hours a day going down the rabbit hole, as in Alice in Wonderland, hoping it doesn't turn out to be a rathole. If you went down the lines of translation, asking how confident the translator was of the result, the answer would vary wildly from line to line. At least, it would if the translator was honest and aware of what he or she were dealing with. Line eight is a good example of wonder-land, as in "I wonder what the devil is going on here." 孤 is both "orphan" and "solitary." 引 is the verb for drawing a bowstring taut and also for "attract" and for making anything taut in general, practically or metaphorically. 将 is the closest thing Chinese has to a future tense, indicating something will happen. 何 is variously "who," "what," "how," "where" and "why," a question indicator relying on context. And 归 is a nice, unambiguous verb for "to return."
In Chinese, almost every noun is a verb and vice versa. If something isn't also a static verb (Chinese adjective), then it's probably an adverb. I'm exaggerating a bit, as there are plenty of characters which perform as conjunctions or adverbs rather unambiguously and plenty of characters which usually come down on the side of a single noun or verb. But poets, with their requirements of condensing everything down to five or seven characters, rely heavily on the ambiguities.
I think the best thing a translator can do is to make the poem consistent in itself and consistent within the works of the poet. The result, if one translates all the poetry of a poet, is a model of who the poet was, what he has said and what he meant by it. As in mathematics, so in poetry, consistency is no indicator of the truth. But it is the only valid (mathematically, a system is valid if and only if it is consistent) approach to the truth. One can approach the truth of a poet when multiple models are compared and linked out to other historical data. There is a limit to how much truth is available in this intelligent merging of consistent and complete (as in "all the poems of a poet") merging of models. But would be far more than we will ever get from the patchwork partial approach of biases and dogmas.