TE R SPE C T IYE S
P ERSPECTI VF S asseSevt
My time, a wine too potent to be drunk,
Beats beauty beyond bearing on the waves.
Then take me, water, burdened with the blossoms
Of my lost - or call them wasted - ways.
Last night I dreamed I drifted on a chip.
Thither to England, since the wind wills it.
The ship dips doubting prow. Fall
Blossoms and the frozen autumn fruit
Float by. They told me that the full moon
Ruled the harvests, ripened.
Are the years from 1916 to an indefinite
Number in the century's end.
I've solved the song: the widening honeysuckle
Solace has brought us its deeply drawn promises
Penetrating our most marvelous selves.
See, love, how the vine swells and ripens:
Clings. Could our lives seed and mellow
So? No. That is night love. Love
By day is different. Hear how the ocean's
Mission is a motion never over. How alone.
At noon the honeysuckle, seeming nausea,
Calms my mind; but night denies
This peace with sleeplessness, signature of sorrow.
Calm callings of calamity on tiptoe
Whisper. Now I know how long in fever
Fired flesh can wither unconsumed ...
Vain violent fire.
Rides me frothing to the waves. I dreamed
Of ocean going; it seemed I was sailing
On a ship. I feel gelatinous space,
Sea and ceiling, swallow me. Hollowness
Sounds from below when my heels click on
The deckdrum. Frothflowers float in the death stare
Of the starved moon, as bowed in pain
It clutches at the mold-blotched bloating
Of the ocean face. Hail, Archer:
Conqueror of the sea. The water lies beneath
You like a dying bird, stung by your stars,
Wind quivering its wingwaves. Now
The houndclouds gather and pursue the moon
I see the symbol. The foregathered ruins
Of the broken world whirl by. A storm
Of unconsummate meanings sinks the arc so deep
Not even sleep can trace the circle now.
Late, in the embassy, a single lamp
Within whose smoking circle words. unroll
Toward ultimatum and its crested stamp:
Yet the talk of these, our great, escapes us all
Electrocuted in his chair, the calm
Telegrapher prints out their fear: My lord,
The gardener reports the lake in flame,
Or, X has arrived unscathed with the blue word.
There is a ceremony of decay
Great voices mourn upon; loud is their chant
Transmitted over air and undersea,
Submerging truth, the clear wave-lengths of want,
While the grocer weighs the modest trucker's greens
For the plumber's child with death in all her veins:
-John Malcoln4Bi in
TWO POEMS BY CH'ING CHAO LI (1081-1129)
(Woman poet of the Sung Dynasty)
Translated from the original by
Yun-tsung Chao and Paul Lim-Yuen
(These poems represent a poetical form of the Sung Dynasty of the 11th and
12th centuries. Most of the poetry had a lyric quality that could be adapted well t
singing or chanting. As may perhaps be anticipated in any attempt to translate
Chinese poetry, the greatest difficulty encountered is in carrying over the full rich-
ness of connotation and imagery into the English lines. For most Chinese poetry.,
this would be a virtual impossibility without the aid of numerous annotations to ex-
plain the significance of certain words and phrases in the light of the wealth of legend
and tradition that belong to the culture of China. Also it may be obvious that nearly
always the onomatopoeic beauty of a line in Chinese is in a great measure lost in the
process of translation. However, it does appear that the rural freshness and the
gentle grace, and the fine aesthetic feeling of Chinese poetry may be rendered into
English, and such is the, justification for the above interpretation of one of th
most famous and gifted of China's women poets.)
SPRING IN WU-LING
The flowers die, the breezes subside, waft fragrant dust;
Morn and eve, I tire of my reasonless toilette;
Changeless things - changeful man -
Life has lost its meaning:
Tears come before words.
I have heard that spring on the Shuang River still enchants -
Should I go boating there?
Alas, I fear that such small craft
Cannot well bear
The burden of my woe.
A straw couch - a humble hut -
And with it, the onrush of a multitude of thoughts;
Ah, but none worthy of expression.
No more rises the fragrant incense -
Cold the jade urn,
Cold companion to my lonely thoughts,
Unsoothing, like tasteless water to a craving palate
Hark! the pure mellow notes of a distant flute -
A plum blossom bursts forth.
Alas! wherein are the sentiments of spring?
A slight breeze drives a steady melancholy drizzle,
Again brings forth
A thousand tears.
Gone the wooing player,
Empty his abode.
Heart-wrenched - whence shall I turn?
In this world and in that other,
My full heart would pour forth