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《战后》:北岛 (Post-Bellum by Bei Dao)

While I was trying to find Hebrew poetry, I stumbled upon the website lyrikline.org. There, they have poems from many different languages; in some of them, you could actually hear the poet read their own work.

There’s obviously Mandarin Chinese poetry in it; one of the featured authors is Bei Dao, who currently lives in Hong Kong. His poetry, which I’ve delved into through the past year, is part of the 朦胧 (meng2long2) “Misty” generation–which focuses on realism, but with enigmatic language. After reading this piece, I figured I might translate it here for you.

Link: https://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/post-bellum-3710 (in traditional Chinese, along with Bei Dao reading it)

从梦里蒸馏的形象
在天边遗弃旗帜

池塘变得明光,
那失踪者的笑声
表明:疼痛
是莲花的叫喊

我们的沉默
变成草浆变成
纸,那愈合
书写伤口的冬天

Post-Bellum

Distilled images from a dream
abandon a flag on the horizon.

The pond has become bright;
the laughing sounds of the missing
make it clear: pain
is a lotus flower's shout.

Our silence
turns into straw pulp, turning into 
paper, that winter
which heals written wounds.
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《桃花:在故乡》:俞心樵 (Peach Blossoms in Hometown by Yu Xinqiao)

春天这家杂志,在故乡
发表了大量的桃花
 而我们必须销声匿迹
 桃花的铃声正催逼着我们
 在故乡,太阳大权在握
 命令春风这架印刷机
 印出湖泊中牛鬼的倒影
 印出千年前追逐蜜蜂的苏小小
 而我们必须销声匿迹
 我们唯一能够发表的作品就是我们悲哀的脸
 我们曾经在酒足饭饱之后停止探索
 如今我们在悲哀中初具遥远的意识
 在故乡,我和月亮气味相投
 就这个嫦娥,是我诗篇中的土特产
 是我带着她奔月,千年的传说中
 人们将我忘得如此之深
 1990 3 浙师大

Peach Blossoms in Hometown:

Spring--this magazine publishes
 many peach blossoms at home,
 and we have to lie low.
 The peach blossoms' ringing
 now press us for payment.
 At home, the sun holds power in its hands,
 and orders this printing press, the spring breeze
 to print an upside down image of a cow's ghost,
 and to print a miniature of a chasing bee from many years ago.
 And we have to lie low;
 the only things we're able to publish are our sorrowful faces.
 We once stopped exploring after we had our fill;
 nowadays, we first have a sense of remoteness in sorrow.
 In our hometown, I am compatible with Chang'e--
 it's the local specialty in my poems,
 it's me flying to the moon with her,
 in thousand-year-old legends,
 people forget me so thoroughly.

Photo by Hieu Do on Unsplash

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无名《我的天真让我疯狂》(Untitled–“Your innocence drives me crazy…)

Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

你的天真让我疯狂, 
你的眼泪如钻石宝贵, 
一直寻找满月。 
 在黑夜中, 当雾霭把我们裹好,
 你一直旋转,旋转, 
 你的衣裙悄然发光。
 一分钟,就可以着火。 
 
你的温柔让我的脸开始破碎, 
 而隐藏的流泪变了河流, 
 漂移向遥远的港, 
 人山人海等着公平地宣布。 
 当军人航行向地狱, 
 他们的血污的情书 
 飞越破碎的山谷, 
 跟叶子一起散落街道。 
 
你在樱花下,倩影不准我走, 
你的手又邀请我一起跳舞。 
你的嘴如梅花绽放, 
可不准自己勇敢地告别。 
冷风叫我的名字, 
而暴风快地来到, 
 可假如我可以回乡, 
一切的我就是你的。 

翻译/Translation

Your innocence drives me crazy,
and your eyes are valuable like diamonds,
always searching for the moon.
At night, when the fog wraps around us, 
you always spin, always spin;
your dress quietly giving off light.
In a minute, it could catch fire.

Your tenderness makes my face want to break,
and the tears I've hidden transform into rivers,
drifting towards a faraway harbor
where a sea of people wait for a peace treaty.
When the soldiers sail towards hell,
their bloodied love letters
will fly across the broken valleys
before scattering on the streets with leaves.

You are under the cherry blossoms, a beautiful woman forbidding me to go,
your hands invite me to come and dance together again.
Your lips bloom like plum blossoms,
yet you don't let yourself to say goodbye courageously.
The frigid winds call my name,
and the storm quickly arrives,
but if I can return home,
all of me will be yours.
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《爱情如刺刀的肺部》(Love is Like a Punctured Lung)





爱情如刺刀的肺部; 
它限制你的氧气。 
而在你的黑暗中, 
你的谵妄保护你, 
 一直唱童年的歌。

你坐在心里的悬崖-- 
山风变幻你的方向; 
当一双鹭鸶超越冬天。 
你弹古琴,眼睛水灵, 
可当你开口,寻找歌词, 
你不得不啜泣
蜂蜜的流泪。

你一直爬山如新僧, 
忙着忏悔在白天中, 
画着过去的回忆。 
你的彼岸只是 
死去的白桃树, 
水果被老百姓亵渎了, 
 为了让家人不会凋零。 
 
如果你告诉我 ”我爱你“, 
请把双手伸给我, 
而回到我的氧气。 
 我祷告这个真实如清水-- 
 我青春的药膏, 
 一直留在我手心里 
 像昨天的毒药。 

翻译/Translation:

Love is like a punctured lung--
it takes away your oxygen.
And in your darkness,
your delirium protects you,
always singing songs from childhood.

You sit on a cliff inside your heart,
the mountain winds changing your direction
as a pair of herons overcome winter.
You play the guqin, your eyes twinkling,
but when you open your mouth,
searching for the words,
you can't help but sob
in tears made of honey.

You always climb there like a monk,
busy repenting during the day,
painting memories of the past.
Your other shore is just
a dying cherry tree--
others defiled the fruit,
so that their loved ones may not wither.

So if you tell me, "I love you,"
please take my hands 
and return the oxygen to me.
I pray this reality is like clear water;
the salve for my youth
stays on my palms 
like yesterday's poison.

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《朝圣者》(The Pilgrim)

耶路撒冷只是
一条起伏的老桥。
生来牛奶的牧师
熬夜,不知不觉焚香。
他们忙着忏悔,
也看不见
人们的荒野。

我的双手读者西墙,
但我的心里是哑的。
心愿飞来飞去,
从来不渴望石榴的食物,
可昨天的回音
让我哑口无言。

哦,饱经沧桑的城市,
不要着火橄榄森林--
一双被麦刺的手
只想喝一杯圣酒。

Translation/翻译

Jerusalem is only
a wavering bridge.
Priests born out of milk
stay up all night,
mindlessly burning incense--
too busy repenting,
they don't see the wilderness of people.

Although my hands read the Western Wall,
my heart is mute.
My mind flies around,
never longing for a pomegranate's sustenance,
but yesterday's echoes
render me silent.

Oh, this city which saw so much,
do not burn the forest of olive trees--
a pair of hands, cut by wheat,
only wants a cup of holy wine.

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《1984:写给一万卡》: 俞心樵 (1984: Written for Ivanka by Yu Xinqiao)

白痴带来了黑夜
黑社会带来曙光
这世道那个乱呀
没什么道理可讲
  
这首诗也将大乱
岂能再整齐划一
  
川普一家及其
可怜的小团队
被正确主流媒体
泼污了四年之后
终于全都被封口
  
我很想帮你们的
可怜的一万卡
如果你读卡夫卡
你就必然知道
  
你们的可怜
快赶上了我的可怜
你爹的孤独
快赶上了我的孤独
  
唉,真是抱歉
我,作为一个
可怜的亡国之君
我的江山社稷
已丢失千百年
要军队没军队
要粮草没粮草
  
如今,我
只能抱着
一个破手机
干着急
   
可怜的一万卡呀
如果你读卡夫卡
不,不不,如果
如果你读奥威尔
  
黑夜带来了白痴
曙光带来黑社会
这世道那个乱呀
没什么道理可讲
  
 2020.1.10.简言居
1984: Written For Ivanka

Idiocy brings the night,
while the underworld brings the dawn.
These attitudes are so messy,
with no values to speak of.
 
This poem also brings a state of chaos;
how could it be balanced again?
 
Trump's family and
their small, pitiful team
are corrected by the mainstream media.
After a rough and brutish four years
they are all finally sealed up.
 
I want to help your
pitiful Ivanka.
If you read Kafka,
then you must certainly know.

Your pitifulness
quickly overtakes mine;
your father's loneliness
quickly overtakes mine also.
 
Ay--I'm really sorry.
I'm seen as a 
pitiful gentleman from a dying country.
The scenery of my country
already lost thousands of years.
I want an army, but don't have one.
I want provisions, but don't have any.
 
Nowadays, I can only
hold a broken cell phone
and worry helplessly.
 
Oh, pitiful Ivanka--
if you read Kafka…
No, no no--
if you read Orwell,
 
Darkness brings idiocy,
while the dawn brings about the underworld.
These attitudes are so messy,
with no values to speak of.

Picture: Alternative Ivanka II by me (Elda Mengisto). Charcoal and colored pencil and sketch paper, 2017

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《空虚的女孩》 (Daughter of Nothingness)

I was rejected at birth, nestled in the arms of death— 
My mother was heaven, and my father the earth. 
The sun smiled at me as I woke up in the forest, 
Clothed in a blanket and crowned with dead wildflowers. 
 
The summer warmth raised me in the years to come, 
Melting the blue on my fingertips and the ice on my lips. 
Yet it also unveiled my heart, cracked by rocks and time; 
With daggers piercing my shield, many thoughts are revealed. 
 
Witnesses to my existence mock my elusiveness, 
A virginal soul enduring in the woods. 
Yet I was whored out by nature herself, 
Decayed by the fall and devoured by vultures. 
 
I seek wings which I could fly to a place where my soul could rest, 
Against the winter winds, against the snipes of gnashing teeth. 
As the scent of roses leaves me, I cry seeking for the sun, 
For there is no God, only birds. 
我在出生被拒绝了,就在死神的胳膊依偎着。 
我妈妈是天空,我爸爸是地球。 
太阳对我微笑当我在森林醒来了, 
穿着毛毯,也为自己用死着野花加冕。 
 
来到的岁月中,夏天的温暖养了我, 
融化了指尖上的蓝色和嘴唇上的冰。
可他也透露我被石头与时光开裂的心; 
匕首刺着我的盾牌,多少思想被暴露了。 

 我存在的目击者嘲笑我的谜团, 
 一个在森林中忍耐的处女灵魂。 
 可自然界,她让我吃喝嫖赌, 
 被秋天腐烂,就被秃鹫吞吃了。 

 我寻找翅膀,为了飞向一个我灵魂休息的地方, 
 超越冬风,超越切齿。 
 当玫瑰香味离开我,我为太阳哭泣, 
 因为没有上帝,而只有鸟。 

Picture Credit: StarFlames at Pixbay

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《心愿》(Wish)

我不想为金硬币问你,
或用你的诗意称颂我。

 仁慈与真实,如银河与海洋—
 当他们和解,就互相毁灭。
我已经在雾霭帝国卖自己,
穿着紫色礼包,带着春天玫瑰。

可我已经被钉死了一百万次,
每一次把我的呼吸偷了。
只有我能为我的敌人惨叫,
我就推翻她们的尊严。

为了重生,凤凰在凤霞升华;
为了出生,星星在重力爆发。
可加入从沉沦的灵魂,
让我放弃眼睛里的星星,
我如何继续,在冷漠森林绽放?

当太阳再升起,
我只想要追求余火,
为了草原燃烧,
为了让我在烟中跳舞。 --2018年12月31日

Wish:

I don't want to ask you for golden coins,
nor to praise me with your poetic 

Mercy and reality are like the Milky Way and the sea--
when they reconcile, they destroy each other.
I've already sold myself in an empire of fog,
clothed in purple gift wrap, while carrying roses from spring.

But I've already been crucified a million times;
every time, it steals my breathing away.
Only when I can shout out for my enemies 
could I overturn their dignity.

In order to resurrect, a phoenix sublimates in rosy clouds;
in order to be born, a star explodes in its own gravity.
But a soul entering oblivion
makes me lose the stars in my eyes--
how can I continue, and bloom in an indifferent forest?

When the sun rises again,
I just want to chase the sparks,
so that the grasslands may burn,
so that I can dance in the smoke. --31 December 2018

Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash

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《寻贝-Ocean Beach》 (Finding Shells–Ocean Beach) by Chun Yu

I haven’t been on a beach for a while, partially because of the pandemic and because I haven’t gotten the chance to do so. I always liked the imagery of them; when I was younger, I loved to collect rocks and shells from there.

Chun Yu dedicates 《寻贝-Ocean Beach》 to the titular Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Despite going there twice, I never went to that specific place, but I’d imagine it is pretty. She lives there after moving from China to pursue a career in the sciences; Chun only started writing when she became a post-doctorate fellow.

Her best known book is Little Green: Growing Up in the Chinese Revolution, but she also does other projects, like anthologies, a poetry collection between Chinese Americans and African Americans alike, and even does some poetry herself! One of these, 《地图》 (Map), can be found here.

这彼岸的沙滩
我漂洋过海的
栖落之地
以海洋为名 
是伸展无际的
美洲天涯


听说那大海 
有时会抛出
沙钱贝
洒落在她的
黄金海岸


尽管零星渺茫
拾贝者众多 
我并不满怀希望 
却也不无希望地 
俯身寻觅


而海上风暴无常 
玲珑的沙钱贝 
或许早已被击碎
黯然飘散
无法重圆


当我耗尽了
心神与眼力
无意中抬头
望向茫茫大海
却看见飞溅的喷泉 
鲸鱼巨大的黑色脊背 
在海上浮现— 
如同希望 
身背重负 
却充满力量 
一旦升起 
整个海洋
都为之涌动


(2017年9月13日初稿于旧金山,2020年12月1日完稿于旧金山)

翻译/Translation

This beach on the other shore,
the sunken place where I've traveled the sea for,
gave the sea a name--
the ends of the Americas
which stretch out endlessly.

I've heard this ocean
would sometimes toss out
sand dollars,
sprinkling across her
golden coasts.

Even with fragments of uncertainty,
and a lot of people collecting shells,
I'm not filled with hope,
but I have a little bit, hopefully 
bending down to look.

And as the storm on the sea dies out,
an exquisite sand dollar,
or maybe one already smashed into pieces.
They dimly drift
with no way to reunite.

When I've depleted
my mind and vision,
I accidentally raise my head up,
and look at the endless ocean.
But looking at the splashing fountain,
a whale's giant black back
emerges above the sea--
like hope,
a burden on the body
but filled with strength.
In a day, it raises
the entire sea,
all to bubble forward.

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《冬至》 (Winter Solstice)

A few years ago, my Chinese 401 class and I had to read a short story called 《取暖》 (To Warm Oneself). It’s about a young man who committed a crime and it imbues on him when he returns home for the Lunar New Year. It also covers his time in prison.

That form of isolation inspired me to write this poem in 2016-2017, but under different circumstances. This is probably one of my favorites I have written thus far.

站在那条孤独的路上
我祈祷为了从命运获释,
而为我亲爱的朋友终于原谅我。
当季节第一次降雪来到的时候,
我应该走,
去看我的亲朋好友,
可是如今,回来的我不是英雄,
而是拿着破碎灵魂的。

今夜,我想了英雄的意义,
我以为它是把我的刀剑,
走向天涯,为了救多生命。
其实,这个挑战,
也像冬至一样黑暗。
回家呢?不是个荣耀,
而是一个委任--
妈妈难以忍受疗伤我伤痕累累的脸,
爸爸告诉我只是个无助的流浪。

风又吹了,一首难忘的旋律,
也如此残酷。一位仙女独自
站在那遥远的岛,充满了山花。
但是她来不及送给我阳光。
天继续下雪,车继续飘逸,
可谁要花了时间暖和脆弱的我?
我问了白云,就又祈祷了。

Winter Solstice

Standing on the lonely road,
I pray that I will be freed from my destiny
and that my beloved will finally forgive me.
I should've left 
when the first snow of the season started falling,
but nowadays, the me who returns is not a hero,
but one holding a broken soul.

Tonight, I think about what it means to be a hero--
I thought it was holding a sword,
traveling to the ends of the earth, and saving many lives.
Actually, that challenge
was as dark as the winter solstice.
And returning home? It's not an honor,
but an appointment--
my mother cannot bear to heal my scarred face;
my father tells me I'm just a helpless wanderer.

The wind blows again, a melody not forgotten,
yet so brutal. A fairy stands alone
on a faraway island, filled with mountain flowers,
but she has no time to bestow sunlight on me.
The snow continues to fall, the cars continue to drift,
but who would waste time to warm me, oh so fragile?
I asked the white clouds, before praying again.



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When Beatrice Calls

如果你们读过但丁的《神曲》,你就知道了Beatrice的人物。她不仅陪但丁到了天堂,而是他的缪斯。研究者讨论谁炫目但丁;然而,结论不太清纯。有一个女人,叫Beatrice Portinari, 就是他们猜猜看的但丁的亲爱的。虽然他们的关系比较弱,但是但丁的心一直为他渴望。

八年以前,我看过了《神曲》;但是我不记得那么多的事情。可是,这个夏天,我写了两首诗;他们都心想Beatrice 当缪斯。如果她是道德的化身,她就怎么帮助我们?

If you’ve ever read “The Divine Comedy”, you would know the character of Beatrice. She accompanies Dante as he moves out of Purgatory and into Heaven, along with acting as his muse. Researchers have debated on whom inspired him, but there isn’t a clear conclusion on who it is. They’ve came to a relative consensus, however, on Beatrice Portinari. Their relationship was a bit fragile, as they only met twice, but it gave Dante such a longing that it inspired him, such as with “La Vita Nuova“.

I’ve read The Divine Comedy in high school, but I don’t remember much of it. This doesn’t mean I didn’t use Beatrice’s figure as a muse in these two poems–one in English, the other in Mandarin. If she’s the embodiment of goodness, then what would that mean for us?

Beatrice Calls:

The waves beckon me afar--
 a siren song smothered;
 the bridge between myself
 and paradise
 is a tightrope made of spun sugar.
 The sand wraps my ankles
as ivy grows on a maple,
 and compels me
to submerge in millennia
 of bleeding transitions.
 I fantasize of a mermaid,
 her fingers on my toes,
 challenging me to come to the depths
 where opals dissolve.
 But Beatrice calls
 and I acquise.
Wrapping myself in the humid wind,
I swirl in the musky evening,
to prepare myself for the terror.

Beatrice召唤 (中文翻译)

那些波浪招手我,
一首被抑制了的曲,
我自己与天堂之间的桥
是一条丝糖钢丝。
沙子包裹着我的脚踝,
像常春藤蜿蜒枫树
就强迫了我
为了在血着过渡的千年
淹没自己。
我意淫了美人鱼,
她的手指摸着我的脚趾,
一直激将我过来
在蛋白石溶解的深处。
可是Beatrice召唤我;
我就放弃了,
我把潮湿风包裹自己,
就在麝香晚上转一转,
为未来的战争准备自己。

《天涯》

晶莹的桃子
从霞光坠落,
在你心手里
又绽放了。
你把沼泽地
收获了
未枯萎的莲花;
天鹅飞翔
遥远的地平线。
你付出所有的
阳光灿烂的岁月--
忘了黎明的温暖,
为了假装勇敢的流浪。
可在霎眼,
Beatrice召唤我,
穿着月亮,
也拿着宝剑,
四海为家。

At the Ends of the Earth:

Crystal peaches
fall from the red sunlight;
they bloom again
in the palm of your hand.
You harvested lotuses
that never wither in marshlands;
swans fly towards
a faraway horizon.
You have given up 
all those sunny years,
and forgotten the dawn's warmth,
so that you may pretend to be a courageous wanderer.
But in a blink of an eye,
Beatrice calls you--
dressed in moonlight,
she holds a valuable sword,
a vagrant.

Picture Credit: Ray Bilcliff from Pexels

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High Noon《正午》

连万花筒
都不能控制
白天的统治;
那个永恒的朝代
为军人面对他。
可我逃避了
我对早晨的渴望;
蔚蓝的天空
为我打开了--
海阔天空,
那个海洋的深渊。

我把我继承的蓝宝石
驱逐了天涯;
逐步, 地平线只是银线。
我又学会了微笑,
也学会了保护自己的火,
春天太阳的小礼物。

扔了硬币之后,
我发现了自己的指南针,
但我得学会读它的旅途。

所以,我终于决定了改变。


翻译/Translation:
Even a kaleidoscope
cannot control the day's rule;
the never-ending dynasty
waits for solider to face it.
But I've already escaped
the longing for dawn;
the azure skies opened for me
the entire world,
the ocean's abyss.

I've banished the sapphires
that I have inherited;
step by step, the horizon is just a silver wire.
I learned how to smile again,
and learned how to protect my own fire,
a gift from the spring sun.

After flipping a coin,
I discovered my own compass,
but I have to read its journey.

So, I've finally decided to change.


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Dawn 《早晨》

万花筒做的眼睛
看得见
透明的樱花
悄悄绽放了,
吹响了
我开放的手心里。
我听得见
夜莺的歌曲,
但我的心里
不知不觉
跳了华尔兹舞。
灰姑娘的梦想
早已过去了,
不过,露珠头发的我
终于变了女士。
我跟回乡的天鹅
骑着一片白云;
在阳光灿烂
重生的维纳斯。
小小的丁香
也让我再写诗歌;
连昨天晚上的叫床
都像交响乐一样。

翻译/Translation:

Kaleidoscopic eyes
can see
transparent cherry blossoms
quietly blooming
and blowing into
my open palms.
Although I can hear a nightingale's song,
my heart unconsciously 
dances a waltz.
Cinderella's dream has already passed--
nevertheless,
I, with dew drops in hair,
has finally become a woman.
I ride a white cloud 
with swans flying homeward;
I am Venus resurrected
on a bright and sunny day.
Small lilacs
make me write poems again;
even last night's moaning
is like a symphony.



Picture Credit: Roberto Nickson at Pexels

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Midnight 《半夜》

一双蔚蓝眼睛
常常出没我的心愿--
我找不到盯视我的人。
半夜超越爱人的渴望,
也安慰着自杀的诗人,
手里拿着的万花筒
被我的忧郁混乱了。

它们的三角镜子
不知不觉
展示黑白房子,
闻着新鲜牡丹,
也看不见曦辰在哪里。
我跟蜡烛祷告;
烟草神话着
我做的演讲;
忏悔是
收获菊花
当我用了血画画
回乡的旅途。

我哭的这样--
流泪只是
孕育星星碎片,
但心里的呼喊
就是无尽唱词。
它们逐渐地
解放纯白茉莉;
它们的美丽
从来不属于我。

翻译/Translation:

A pair of azure eyes
frequently haunts my desires--
I cannot find the one who stares at me.
Midnight surpasses the lovers' yearning
and comforts the suicidal poets;
the kaleidoscope I hold in my hands
is muddled by my melancholy.

Their triangular mirrors
unconsciously reveal black and white places;
they smell like fresh peonies,
yet cannot see where the dawn is.
I pray alongside the candles;
the tobacco sanctifying my speech--
repentance is 
harvesting chrysanthemums
when I used my blood to paint
the way home.

I cry like this--
although tears only
beget the stars' fragments,
the screams in my mind
are endless song lyrics.
They gradually release
pure white jasmines,
but their beauty 
will never belong to me.

Picture Credit: Miriam Espacio on Pexels.

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Sunset 《夕阳》

一辈子是这样: 我们继续跑步,而继续渴望更荣耀的事情。然而,当我们面临挑战或者不幸福的一年,我们可能绝望。

我也勉强地写了这首四部分的诗歌。我以为写完了一首,叫《半夜》;我突然写了《夕阳》,也用了万花筒的画面。我会发布的次序影响从绝望到狂喜的旅途。然而,如果你从一首诗方向(比如说,从早晨到半夜,或许从正午到早晨),你就看得到一辈子里的周期。

We keep running and yearning for better things in life, but we struggle through a bunch of things in life, such as this unfortunate year.

One thing that came out of it for me is a four-part poem, which started out as a single one called 《半夜》(Midnight). The order I’m posting it over the next few days reflects the transition from despair to hope However, you can start at anytime of the day, so that you could see how things work in a cycle.

我把死着太阳化妆了,
画画了笨拙的画面。
鹅蛋脸面对霞光
只发现灵魂的黑暗,
连梅花都活不下去。

我亲吻了世外桃源,
但我的心渴望着
阴雨绵绵的le岁月。
我酒红的嘴
就为你闪耀,
当我站在地平线
我们可能一起走,
在荒山秃岭相拥。

用万花筒看夕阳,
我以为我看得见
你漂浮的侧面。
我只发现血红的波,
它想要把心痛的我
假如我是海洋的唯一船。


I use the dying sunset as makeup,
painting a clumsy image.
The egg-shaped face
faces the rosy light,
but only discovers the soul's darkness,
where even the plum blossoms cannot persist.

Although I gave utopia a kiss,
my heart only yearns for
those years with continuous rain.
My wine red lips shine for you;
when I stand at the horizon.
then we could 
embrace on a lonely hill.

Using a kaleidoscope to look at the sunset,
I thought I could see 
your drifting side profile.
I only discover a blood red wave;
it wants to take me away,
as if I was the only ship out on the sea.
Featured

Candlelight Youth 《蜡烛青年》

前年,当我上网了,我意外地遇到了 “蜡烛青年” 的生词。虽然真的内容不清楚,但是意思就是以色列的青年为Yitzhak Rabin一起追悼;他被杀了之后,他们常常烛光而涂写。所以,我用这样的悲伤写了那首诗;然而, 今年,我决定了在这儿发布。虽然我只是美国人,但是我想描述世界上的焦虑:我们的理想未成真,而青年面临全球的脆弱。

A couple years ago, as I was looking around the internet, I stumbled upon the turn “candlelight youth”, or “candlelight generation”. They referred to the young adults who mourned Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination with candles and graffiti (which is still preserved today in Tel Aviv), and representative of the shaken state of society and how they tried, and failed, to reconfigure the peace process. While I’ve written this poem at the same time, I decided to publish it now, because of the current state of the world twenty-five years later. We despair at what could’ve we done better, and lament on the fact we don’t have a suitable figurehead, despite that not always being the case.

This is not a judgement of the tension between Israel and Palestine (though I want to write something more in depth, my stance is that the status quo is untenable and that human rights have to be respected), but a reflection of a loss of hope politically, juxtaposed with the communing of youths around the world.

我们失去了太阳 
当圣人的血爆发, 
着色繁华的街上
像怒放野花一样。 
希望散落如叶子 
当秋天渗入冬天, 
而天鹅陪了灵魂 
飞翔冷漠的幽冥。 
 
黑夜被蜡烛刺了, 
但我们靠近老友 
保护神圣的理想, 
被冬风吹了天涯。 
我们一起喝甜酒, 
像大学岁月一样--
可我们忘了微笑,
梦着出家的一天。

当白天又升起了, 
我们把新鲜玫瑰 
放弃在墓地里。 
我们终于为他唱 
神圣却伤心的歌,
点缀着海阔天空。 
我们学会跳个舞, 
假装还在那个公园, 
可是我们鸦片蝴蝶, 
不愿意粉身碎骨。

翻译/Translation:

We lost the sun
when the saint's blood exploded,
coloring the crowded streets
like wildflowers in full bloom.
As autumn permeates into winter,
hopes scatter like fallen leaves
and swans accompany the soul,
flying towards an indifferent afterlife.

Although candles pierce through the night,
we cling onto our old friends,
protecting these sacred ideals 
that the winter winds blow 
to the ends of the earth.
We drink sweet wine,
like back in our college days,
but we forgot to laugh;
we just dream of when we become monks.

When the sun rises again,
we surrender fresh roses
inside the cemetery.
We finally sing 
sacred yet sorrowful songs for him,
decorating the whole wide world.
We will learn how to dance,
pretending that we were still in that park,
but we're butterflies of opium,
unwilling to give up our lives.

Picture Credit: Dhivakaran S at Pexels

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《窥视者》(Voyeur)

我陪了你下楼,
眼睛羡慕你的吊灯
但你一直渴望
阳光灿烂的日子
你曾经自由自在的青年。
你喝着一杯甜酒,
就后给我一杯女血,
为了约束这个誓言。
你闻着我的茉莉香水,
可是你一直说了,
“连充满木兰花的花园
都不让地狱神圣。"
你抽烟,就为我花了光轮,
烟草慢慢地亵渎角落。
你说了你想为我缝丝绸一群,
也拍裸体姑娘的照片。
七色的日子,他们只是乐土的小吃,
黑白的半夜是你现在的避难所。
在满月下,你吃了禁果,
就把石榴籽散落在天鹅羽毛上。
你答应我一直是你的小公主,
直到我解开约束我身体的金属丝

翻译/Translation:

Although I accompany you downstairs,
my eyes rivaling your chandelier.
you always long for
those bright, sunny days,
your once free youth.
You drink a cup of sweet wine,
then offer me a cup of virgin's blood,
to seal this promise.

You smell my jasmine perfume, 
but you have always said, 
“Even a garden filled with magnolias
cannot sanctify hell."
You smoke a cigarette,
and then draw a halo for me, 
the tobacco slowly desecrating the corner.

You say you want to dress me up in silk,
yet you also take pictures of naked girls.
Those colorful days are only snacks for you;
the black and white nights are your sanctuary now.
Under the full moon, you eat the forbidden fruit,
and then scatter pomegranate seeds across swan's feathers.

You promised me that I would always be your princess--
until I loosen the golden wire that binds my body...

灵感/Inspiration:

我之所以开始听了Philippe Lafontaine的歌是因为他在1990年的欧洲歌唱大赛唱了”Macedomienne”,一首感动的歌。这首呢,是比较神秘,而让我想一想享乐的画面。最后的是比较黑暗。

Picture Credit: Barik5ive from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/@barik5ive-3355696

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《希腊与二元论》的翻译 (Greece and Dualism)

Picture Credit: Aleksander Pasaric from Pexels.

Hello everybody!

Recently; I’ve became a bit of a philhellene. Combined with the recent conviction of the Golden Dawn (a far-right Greek party which garnered a bit of support during their economic crisis), I thought of publishing this translation for this year-old poem.

While getting to know Yu Xinqiao (俞心樵)and translating his work, I noticed how much he was inspired by Greek culture and philosophy. He even mentioned how it was an important part of civilization.

As always, let me know where I could improve on this.

希腊与二元论
 俞心樵
 
就在希腊,不必跑得太远
 二元论不必论及遥远中国

 是谁?在漫漫长夜盼着天明
 就像一个傻大姐正努力减肥
 
无家可归的人在家里
 有家的人啊无家可归
 
当然,东西来自希腊
 当然啦,你我的东西
 真的是一个好东西呀
 比他们的希腊好多了

 游鸟与飞鱼
 白云与红薯
 我的二元论
 为了你的一
 
自从,你的父亲死了
 他的工作就更忙碌了
 自从,我的母亲死了
 她做的菜就更好吃了

 地中海,强化着幽蓝苦涩
 万物如果不在希腊就不灵
 亲爱的,你从脚根甜到嘴
 
世界泛希腊的空气
 欧美亚非拉的呼吸
 空空的空气为我们
 做了这么多空空的
 我们还在呼吸呼吸
 
一代代人死了
 活在你我身上
 
是谁?不知希腊为何物
 遥远的中国,众神入土
 再也挖不出星星和日月
 2019.11.17.简言居 

Translation: 
Greece and Dualism:

In Greece, one does not need to run too far;
dualism doesn't have to reference faraway China

Who? The night longs for dawn,
like a silly woman who works on losing weight.

Homeless people are now at home,
while those with a home are now homeless.

Of course, these things come from Greece--
of course, we are a really good thing,
much better than their Greece.

Swimming birds and flying fish,
white clouds and sweet potatoes,
My dualism is for your one.

Since your father died,
his work has gotten busier;
since my mother died,
her cooked vegetables are tastier.

The Mediterranean Sea
strengthens the clear blue
bitterness--
If all of creation is not in Greece,
they don't refuse.
Darling, you sweeten from the
heals to the lips.

The world floats on Greek air--
the breath of the entire world.
The open air empties the world for us,
and we still breathe, breathe...

A generation of substitutes dies,
and they live on our bodies.

Who is it?
I don't know what will
Greece leave for faraway China.
The Parthenon is buried,
unable to dig out the sun, moon and stars.
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Autumn Girl 《秋天姑娘》

与以前的秋天相比,2020年的更安静。虽然我难得做秋天的事 (比如说拿苹果或者享受落叶子),但是这样的安静影响我们的感觉。去年,我写了那首诗因为说了我的感觉。

This fall is a bit quieter than usual, even though I never take part in traditional fall activities. It kind of reflects our mood right now–a bit melancholic. Hence the scene I wrote a year ago, which reflects the mood through someone one loves.

《秋天姑娘》
她把红茶疗伤我的心,
而用雨天洗净我的脸。
她留辫子,忙着期待
我唱我最喜欢歌的瞬间。
她跳舞在夕阳以前,
靴子画着浪漫画面。
叶子也跳个舞,
从阴沉沉天空飘来飘去,
好像蝴蝶都变了好朋友。
可是当我抓住她粉红色围巾,
她和香草香水突然消失,
航行到另外海港。
她是安慰我的曦辰,
也快地调入天使,
翅膀在阳光下回到羽毛。
她一直渴望牡丹,
也为白玫瑰哀悼,
被夏天的爆发牺牲了。
在我眼角中,
她穿着翠绿的衣裙,
吃着薰衣草冰淇淋,
而我只买得起苹果…

翻译/Translation:

She heals my wounds with black tea,
and wipes my face clean with rain.
She leaves behind petals, busy waiting 
for me to sing my favorite song.

Before sunset, she dances,
her boots painting a romantic picture.
Drifting from the sky,
the leaves do the same,
as if the butterflies became her friends.
But when I pull onto her pink scarf,
she and her vanilla perfume suddenly disappear,
sailing to another harbor.

She is the dawn that comforts me,
and an angel that quickly comes down,
her wings turning into feathers under the sun.
She always yearns for peonies,
and mourns for white roses,
sacrificed by summer's violence.
In the corner of my eye,
she wears an emerald dress
and eats lavender ice cream--
while I can only afford apples...
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History 《历史》

生来冬天的女神/The goddess born from winter

不是风口浪尖的恒星–/is not the polestar in the heart of the storm;

她在死者火花跳舞,/she dances in the dying embers,

跟抽烟的礼拜者/and with her worshippers who smoke

一起分享了/share

怕冷的梨。/cold-hearted pears.

在紫色的黎明破晓了,/When the violet dawn breaks,

她就骑着纯真天马,/ although she rides the pure Pegasus,

但现代的戈迪娃/this modern-day Godiva

只是鄙视的娼妓。/Is just a despised whore.

金色的衣裙熄灭了,/With her golden dresses destroyed

自己养桃子早已朽烂了,/and the peaches she raised already rotten,

她的性欲只孕育了/her desire only gives birth to

破碎诺言;/broken promises

在变色的蝴蝶翅膀/carried on the wings of iridescent butterflies,

漂浮如放射性的雪花。/drifting like radioactive snowflakes.

我听得到她脚步声,/When I hear her footsteps,

看得见她文雅身影,/and can see her refined silhouette,

我忘了我是射手,就坠入了/I forget I’m an archer, and fall into

她像白天的头发走路/the path of her hair like day.

我跑向她,/I run towards her,

可她的历史/but her history

是我唯一的继承/is my only inheritance.

灵感/Inspiration:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49001/ariel

Sylvia Plath 是有一位美国的最有名诗人;今年我终于看了她 《Ariel》 的诗书。她的诗,“Ariel”, 更有意思因为Plath用的语言好气色,而且我被女人骑马感到了。所以,我想写一首看着恨的女士诗, 就参加更幻梦的印象。

Sylvia Plath is one of the most famous American poets; I finally read her collection Ariel this year. One of her poems, the titular “Ariel”, is especially interesting because her use of language was quite colorful, but a bit mysterious. In addition, the image of a woman riding a horse really inspired me to write this bit. I also added the perception of a deceiving, heathen woman, along with more fantastical elements such as the Pegasus and Godiva (which she mentioned in Ariel herself).

Picture Credit: Lady Godiva by John Collier, c. 1897, Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry.

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《祈祷》–Prayer Translation

This year was dominated by the coronavirus, specifically, a mutant called Covid-19. It started out at a wet-market and then expanded across China, afflicting everywhere it touched. Before we knew it, the disease spread through the entire world, leading to lockdowns and delayed events and questions about how to approach it and why we got here in the first place.

I didn’t think about how bad it was until a cluster occurred in a nursing home in the Seattle area, and then I had to wear a mask during a hospital visit because I coughed a bit. On an early Friday morning in March, I hurried to the library to pick up some books to read because they were about to be closed, preceding a state-wide stay-at-home order which was meant to contain it. It was the first time that I personally noted that it could become serious and hit us at home.

Fortunately, I haven’t been impacted that much because of the pandemic. There have been a few changes on job situations within the house and the need to stay around rather than go out, but we haven’t been infected yet. My father always has a number of masks in his car, just in case we have to run an errand or two.

And throughout this year, conflict still emerges on causes, remedies, and how different people are handling the crisis. From racism against Asian people to how mistreatment of the environment helped trigger the crisis, a maelstrom of different political causes are mixed together in terms of what the future would be like. One thing that stood out for me are how Chinese-American relations are deteriorating further, because of mutual conspiracies against the other about how COVID-19 originated, along with whom had the better response. Hopefully I could write some policy about how to resolve the boiling tensions between the two.

Until then, I want to share a poem from February by Shan Hong (山鸿), which I read on WeiXin (or Wechat). I was inspired by this to write one of my own, but with a different focus. I also began to translate it, but I stopped and recently just found it again. Now I want to finish it, as a second wave hit the United States and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any soon.

祈祷:

今天新增的发病人数会少一些

感染者再少一些

祈祷:

天不要下雨,最好出个大太阳

把空气里的病毒杀一杀

祈祷:

走出医院和隔离区的再多一些

其他的好消息、哪怕是虚假的好消息

也再多一些

祈祷:

医生能拿出更多的试纸

把所有应该确诊的患者都确诊了吧

祈祷:

医院里还有一张床

把社区里挣扎在死亡线上的重病者

再收进去一个吧

祈祷:

今天发到病员手上的药物

除了两粒奥司他韦,还有

昨日那些好消息里说到的新药

祈祷:

那个就要死的父亲,他是别人的父亲

年龄和我差不多,在死之前

喝上了他想喝的那一口热粥

祈祷:

那个刚死的人衣衫不整头发凌乱

请让他同样已被感染的儿子

给他简单整理一下

祈祷:

那个刚才装进殓尸袋抬上殡仪车的人

能够释然他在这个世上活了几十年

临走的时候,只有她女儿一个人

在夜幕下的医院门口

望着他去的方向喊了几声“爸爸”

祈祷:

今天将要死去的人会少一些

火葬场的殡仪工能得到短暂的时间

安慰一下自己

祈祷:

那个给骨灰盒贴名签的人

不要把他们的名字贴错了

他们幸存的亲人

往后,会来火葬场寻找他们

2020.2.3

Prayer:

I pray that:

today, the number of new cases will fall a bit,

and those infected also.

I pray that:

it will not rain; it’s best that the sun comes out

and kills the virus in the air.

I pray that:

More people would leave the hospital and isolation zones;

and other good news, even if they are fake.

I pray that:

doctors can give out more more tests

to all the sufferers that need to be diagnosed.

I pray that:

the hospital would still have a bed,

so that the serious patients struggling on the line of death in society

can come in again.

I pray that:

the medicine in a patient’s hand is

other than the two doses of Oseltamivir,

is also the medicine in yesterday’s good news.

I pray that:

the father who is about to die, the other one

who’s close in age to me, can drink a cup of his coffee

and drink a spoonful of porridge before his death.

I pray that:

the clothing of a person who’s just died is not completely messed with hair–

please let his similarly-infected child sort things out.

I pray that:

the person who just lifted the corpse bag into the hearse,

can feel relieved about living another few decades;

before leaving, only his daughter

stands at the darkening hospital door,

hoping to hear “baba” in the direction he is going.

I pray that:

today’s dead will go down,

and that the undertakers at the crematorium could receive

a temporary respite to comfort themselves.

I pray that:

the people who stick on name tags to coffins

don’t stick the wrong one–

their beloved relatives

will come to the crematorium to find them

from now on.

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雨的故事 英文翻译 (A Story of the Rain)

Hello everyone!

If you read my poem 《一双月亮》/Two Moons, then you know that I wrote Mid-Autumn lunar poetry for two years. I shared the first one in 2018 with my Chinese professor at the time, who introduced me to Yu Xinqiao (俞心樵), a friend of hers who is also a poet.

Born on 20 January 1968 in Zhejiang Province, Yu Xinqiao is a poet, painter, and contemporary thinker. Most of the work I’ve encountered come in the form of short poems, of which a third of his over three thousand works survive. He is considered one of the most well known modern-day Chinese poets (the translator for his compilation of his works, Lee Xianchen, believed that modern poetry didn’t hold a candle up to ancient works until he came along), and received recognition and publication from across the world. In addition, he spent eight years in prison for questionable charges.

Since then, I discussed a bit about poetry with him, but most of it involves translating his short works into English. He has a sharp wit and has a way with language. The results are poems that are insightful, but a bit funny in how they end up!

Here’s the first poem I’m going to translate from him, 《雨的故事》/A Story of the Rain, along with the original written in 2019. As always, enjoy, and share any thing I need to correct!

《雨的故事》

下雨了

在半夜

在京城

滴滴答答, 每一滴雨都在

讲一个故事。滴滴的故事

答答的故事。滴滴打车的故事

答答的答非所问的故事。而我

只想听来江南的那一滴雨的故事

那一滴雨会问我讲述其他雨的故事

远离京城的,半夜的,人生中途的,

我已经很久很久没有回到我的江南 (2019.4.20 草场地)

A Story of a Rainy Day:

At midnight,

in the capital,

it rains.

Drip, drip, every raindrop

tells a story. Dripping stories,

dripping stories. Dripping stories

in the taxi.

A story where an irrelevant

answer drips. And I

Just want to hear a story

of the rain from Jiangnan.

That rain will ask me to relate to

other stories of the rain.

Those away from the capital, at midnight,

midway through humanity,

I haven’t returned to Jiangnan for so long.

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In the Eye of the Storm 《暴风之中》

今天, 虽然阳光照亮一点,但是风雨持续。我们也听见一点雷,可是看不见闪电。

两个星期以前,我睡不着因为我听得到暴风;外面的树常常打我的卧室窗。

所以,让我分享二月写的《暴风之中》。

Today, even with a little bit of sun peaking out, it’s been storming outside with heavy rain, and even a little bit of hail. We heard a bit of thunder, even though peeks of lighting were rare.

It reminded me of how about two weeks ago, I was restless as a storm struck, and the wind pounded with great force. A tree outside brushed its branches against my bedroom window.

It made me want to share a poem from February, “In the Eye of the Storm”.

在暴风的中心,/In the eye of the storm,
我以为我认识了上帝。/I thought I had met God.
海洋与天空的关系撕裂了,/The connection between the sea and sky tears apart,
跟我裙子碎片一起飘逸。/floating with pieces of my skirt.
裸体的我慢慢地/A naked me slowly
对蔷薇石英云伸手,/stretchs my hands out to the rose quartz clouds,
为天堂的荣耀期待,/so that I could wait for heaven’s glory,
为了穿着如天使。/so that I may dress like the angels.

我听见强风的祷告:/I heard a strong breeze’s prayer,
对忧郁的孩子哭泣,/crying out at a depressed child,
正在岛的废墟隐藏。/now hiding in the island’s ruins.
我勉强地做了呼喊,/I struggle to shout,
加装了我是只狮子,/pretending that I was a lion–
可是我失去了声音,/but I lost my voice,
天堂的合唱队接受了。/which the heavenly choir accepted.

而在脆弱的瞬间中,/And in that fragile moment,
我以为我的流泪/I thought I that my tears
可以扑灭一辈子的火。/could extinguish the fires of life.
闪电和波浪一起跳舞;/The lightning and waves dance together;
我期望他们可能带我。/I wait for them to take me away.
我眨眼以前,/Before I could blink,
血淋淋手拥抱我,/a pair of bloodied hands embrace me,
而我快地发现,/and I quickly realized,
我没面对自己。/I had not faced myself.

灵感/Inspiration:

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Lady of the North

(Picture Credit: Victor Miyata from Pexels)

Hello everybody,

As mentioned, I like writing poetry in different languages. When I do so, I usually choose the language I want to write in before I actually write it. The images would naturally float up from there.

But, what happens if I have a similar idea, but diverged in different ways?

A few years ago, I wrote an English-language poem, called Lady of the North. I was listening to Adele’s “Hello” and was caught on the idea of memory from it.

Lady of the north, 

Spindling winds from winter, 

Stop haunting me, 

This person you claimed to be a friend, 

Yet played like a small stone skipping 

Through a summer sea. 

You have conjured dreams turning me about 

In the night, 

Alluding to a security never there except by name. 

Stop giving me mirages 

In the snow, where it’s actually raining— 

You can never have purity, just a scent of gray. 

Don’t give me blue when you want to send me black— 

Promised me wealth and innocence, 

Only to fire a bullet of guilt right through my heart— 

In which you spit and leave me to silence in the snow. 

A year ago, I wanted to try to write with a similar idea, only in Chinese. The first draft wasn’t my best work, as I thought my use of language wasn’t the best there. I wanted to start off like the English-language version, but it got lost along the way. It was only recently where I thought of the idea of hands coming out of the snow, in which I found a starting point for this final version. I also included an English translation.

在我出生的雪中/In the snow where I was born

我把双手伸给你。/I stretched out my hands for you.

我开始变了,/I began to change,

像一个腼腆的梅花/like a shy plum blossom

又开放了。blooming again.

在你琳琅满目的山峰,/In your glistening, sparkling peaks,

我失去了我的冰箱,/I lost my frost,

烧了直到我是/and burned until I became

文雅的天鹅。/a refined swan.

我的毛让你放弃/My feathers made you give up

你最珍惜的奖品–一杯黄茶。/your most precious good–a cup of yellow tea.

海阔天空的山谷拥抱我,/The boundless valleys embraced me,

可是你的黑色幽默/but your dark humour

云满了我的黑夜。/clouded up my nights.

你说了春分只是幻梦/You say that the spring equinox is a fantasy,

而我应该当独自的狼,/and I should be a solitary wolf,

一直被松林和银河陪了/always accompanied by the woods and the Milky Way.

山花冰了/The mountain flowers freeze

当它们勉强地/as they struggle to

征服山峰,/conquer the peaks,

神交太阳。/communing with the sun.

我会出走,/And I will set out,

头破血流,/beaten black and blue,

面对你的/to face your

冷漠荣耀/indifferent glory.