Translations
     with S. Ye Laird

Winding Up
by Derek Walcott

I live on the water,
alone. Without wife and children,
I have circled every possibility
to come to this:
a low house by grey water,
with windows always open
to the stale sea. We do not choose such things,
but we are what we have made.
We suffer, the years pass,
we shed freight but not our need
for encumbrances. Love is a stone
that settled on the sea-bed
under grey water. Now, I require nothing

 

From poetry but true feeling,
no pity, no fame, no healing. Silent wife,
we can sit watching grey water,
and in a life awash
with mediocrity and trash
live rock-like.
I shall unlearn feeling,
unlearn my gift. That is greater
and harder than what passes there for life.

Childhood 童年  by Maojing 茅境

-- translated from Chinese by S. Ye

My childhood was hand-carved on a small classroom

desk - a demarcation of my world and your world.  

Your little folding fan unfolds in full swing

our 'no school' summer time

 

We bragged about stories from our fathers by the road 
till night falls and mosquito started buzzing, 
telling their hungry woo by our ears

and following our footsteps back home. 

Rain slashing banana leaves, pulling up young bamboo shoots

by the wall, painted ginseng leaves layer after layer of water green.

The river that drowned my classmate is on the east side 
Who knows if the drowned spirit becomes hibiscus

    or matrimony vine?

We loved chasing field rats, their fate is not unlike

what we might face as grown-ups
That snake we hung on the black board,

that snake we once broke its back
Would it still be able to chase field rats,

drove them to an impasse?

 

Pebbles by the riverbank washed here and there
cracks between stones grow bead tree, beautiful bitter melon
when bitter melon turns red, when bead tree flowers
childhood has left you far far away
peasant bend torso, facing black earth
gadfly flies on his back, leech sucks on his leg.

For our April issue,  if one recalls T.S.Eliot famous line in his Wasteland: 'April is the cruelest month of the year...'  but what following  could be worse still?  What if  the month of May, there is yet no way out,  of  a wasteland so deep, inside one collective Psyche ?  I have, at this moment, no clue how to render a poem written by my contemporary and unknown poet Maojing 茅境 around 1999. One thing for sure that it was the very opposite narratives with Robert Herrick's "Corinna's going A-maying' on the left.  What Maojing's poem brings up to my mind  is closest in, perhaps,  reflecting  'Geometry of Fear'  - a movement by a group of sculptors from Britain in 1950s.  How to overcome this fear in each of our own way is Muse's responsibilities, yes?

吾将上下而求索

translated into Chinese by S. Ye


我住在水上, 
独处,无妻无子, 
弃掉漩生出的各种可能 
我成为如今的样子:
一片灰水的一间低矮房子里, 
窗户总是敞着 
面向无波的海。我们并非选择了这些事,
但最终我们还是从了本来的命运。 
遭受,流逝的年岁, 
我们卸下负荷 而非对自我的
自怜自爱。爱如石
安置于灰色水域的 
河床。现下,我一无所求

真情出嫁于诗境
无怜无名无救。无言的内人 
我们一同坐看泉泉的暗流。
和 浮世一生
在庸常和垃圾中
受洗的顽石。
我应该解下感情, 
解下天赋。这比当初得到它们可是麻烦多了, 
这也比一生随波逐流要好吧。

Corinna's going a Maying 

BY ROBERT HERRICK

Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne 
Upon her wings presents the god unshorne. 
                     See how Aurora throwes her faire 
                     Fresh-quilted colours through the aire: 
                     Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and see 
                     The Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree. 
Each Flower has wept, and bow'd toward the East, 
Above an houre since; yet you not drest, 
                     Nay! not so much as out of bed? 
                     When all the Birds have Mattens seyd, 
                     And sung their thankful Hymnes: 'tis sin, 
                     Nay, profanation to keep in, 
When as a thousand Virgins on this day, 
Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May. 

Rise; and put on your Foliage, and be seene 
To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and greene; 
                     And sweet as Flora. Take no care 
                     For Jewels for your Gowne, or Haire: 
                     Feare not; the leaves will strew 
                     Gemms in abundance upon you: 
Besides, the childhood of the Day has kept, 
Against you come, some Orient Pearls unwept: 
                     Come, and receive them while the light 
                     Hangs on the Dew-locks of the night: 
                     And Titan on the Eastern hill 
                     Retires himselfe, or else stands still 
Till you come forth. Wash, dresse, be briefe in praying: 
Few Beads are best, when once we goe a Maying. 

Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke 
How each field turns a street; each street a Parke 
                     Made green, and trimm'd with trees: see how 
                     Devotion gives each House a Bough, 
                     Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this, 
                     An Arke a Tabernacle is 
Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove; 
As if here were those cooler shades of love. 
                     Can such delights be in the street, 
                     And open fields, and we not see't? 
                     Come, we'll abroad; and let's obay 
                     The Proclamation made for May: 
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying; 
But my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying. 

There's not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day, 
But is got up, and gone to bring in May. 
                     A deale of Youth, ere this, is come 
                     Back, and with White-thorn laden home. 
                     Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame, 
                     Before that we have left to dreame: 
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted Troth, 
And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth: 
                     Many a green-gown has been given; 
                     Many a kisse, both odde and even: 
                     Many a glance too has been sent 
                     From out the eye, Loves Firmament: 
Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying 
This night, and Locks pickt, yet w'are not a Maying. 

Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime; 
And take the harmlesse follie of the time. 
                     We shall grow old apace, and die 
                     Before we know our liberty. 
                     Our life is short; and our dayes run 
                     As fast away as do's the Sunne: 
And as a vapour, or a drop of raine 
Once lost, can ne'r be found againe: 
                     So when or you or I are made 
                     A fable, song, or fleeting shade; 
                     All love, all liking, all delight 
                     Lies drown'd with us in endlesse night. 
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying; 
Come, my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying.

 

2013年5月30日星期四

五月空虚 - by 茅境

 

五月空虚

我知道你会来的,

如同五月的樱花姗姗来迟
带着腥味来带着黑黝黝的诱惑来
你的头发垂到脐部,

一条条如刀痕般清晰

五月如同被狗咬碎的核桃,

又像被冰雹击中的云   
五月,有很多生灵的命运悬在你的发丝
悬在你青色的散乱刀痕

一具浮在江面的尸体,

不能说明这世道是否公正
没有饿鬼的哀叫,

只有空虚者在物欲中呻吟
你在这时走来,似笑非笑,

对我说:物是人非

今夜与你同行,感受你的冷峻
你伸出大大的舌头,

与传说中的事情辩论
又用一节一节的手臂,

转动历史这枯树的年轮
你把空虚证明给我看,

又让我相信你的真诚
这时候我的思想如同炉子,

需要舔食红的火焰

我知道你会来,你是我的前身
我愿意看到你的眼睛炯炯有神
你来的时候道路昏暗,恋人趁机接吻
你看到我是那个被咬碎的核桃,

那是我们, 整个家族的命运

我很孤独,真的,我甚至没有梦中的情人
前途是一束水面上的黑光
一个声音对我说:走上去,

用黑色衬托你的光辉

我很冷,靠近我,但是别刺痛我
风从我们的缝隙吹过,吹扭我的前程
于是我只能用相机纪录我的梦境
我不是撒谎者,从来不是,你说过
我的话比谎言还要动听

你是注定要在五月来找我的,我无处躲藏
我的世界是泡沫中的空间
阳光下我用黑色伪装自己,

也伪装我的过去
如果你给我一把绿伞,

我会还你一个金色的秋天

祝福如同雪花纷纷扬扬,一场冰冷的笑话
冬天还没有来临,我已梦见多雨的春天
你说过些什么。我便相信那些终会成真

日子过得味同嚼蜡,一根火柴不能点燃
缉私船从海上驶过,如同我的拖鞋漂在脸盆
我害怕,沉没的不仅仅是命运

你说过,即使所有的青藤树都倒了,

我也应站着
如今我被清醒折磨,脑痛欲裂
用咳嗽掩盖干嚎,用药剂缓解绝望
从泉水中或许会跳出一个弹簧,

但那不是我, 更不是我的灵魂

求你坐我身边,让我看清你的脸
在梦中总是烟雾迷蒙


茅境199X年写,2006年10月20日分行分段 

some days are sunny, some days are rainy 
Her quiet smile withered away like wasted millet grass
In our small country hospital
often, young women crying over their husbands' corpse
often, seen young woman beaten up by her man
she took a mouthful and swallowed pesticide
she stole food from her working unit
But we get to see a movie
we run around telling the news
we went to see once more 'the red shining star'

Childhood riverbank is full of danger
Winter's mud and fire is best to scotch sweet potato
mud path by the riverbank
it pays no attention and swallow up your playmate
nobody sees what is not seen
you search for water cabbage's spring
you search for algoe's spring
we all know Chinese clover has no spring
When spring comes
They were rolled plowshares,
Buried in hell. 

Copyright  Better Than Starbucks 2017, a poetry magazine

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