scruta

Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Epigram #7

Musicians afire

Audience still

No one moves

Everyone is moved

posted by ferret at 10:29 am  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Epigram #6

What gives one pause is not how the universe is, but that it is.

What moves you forward is thinking not that one is, but how one is.

posted by ferret at 9:44 pm  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shanghai as a Jaywalker

A waif of a girl, she was walking in the road, letting her heels click upon the asphalt, completely avoiding the sidewalk. She did it not because she wished to prove anything about herself. Nor did she do it because she wanted to save time. For her it was simply the way that one walked, inches from death at all times.

Taxicabs whizzed by at a clip, most of them only flashing their lights to acknowledge her presence, if they did that at all. Electric bicycles announced their arrival with a high, piercing ring. Trash trucks hustled past, groaning as they swerved around her.

She gnawed nonchalantly on a processed bread bun as she walked through an intersection, oblivious of the traffic lights, walking straight through the middle. I stood there waiting for the light, wondering what possessed her and where she was going. I tried to follow her across the road, but the cars were coming too fast and I didn’t have the intuition to navigate them. I’d lost her.

A minutes later I found her again, standing at a corner for a moment as she threw the wrapper of her bun at a trash can. It didn’t make it in, but she was unconcerned. The trash can was the token of a world that she participated in only as an afterthought. She was already off the sidewalk, shuffling down the middle of the street.

posted by ferret at 6:42 pm  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Translation: 悲观

The following is a translation of a poem by the 20th century Chinese poet, Xu Zhimo. What intrigued me most about this poem is its representation of the descent into nihilist despair that extreme pessimism induces. It’s a descent that inevitably goes so deep that it destroys itself or it destroys the pessimist… It’s the speaker’s interjection at the end, 休!休!Stop! Stop! (or perhaps, Rest! Rest!), which brilliantly illustrates this eventuality.

《悲观》

徐志摩 作

一

青草地,

牛吃草,

摇头掉尾,

天上的青云白云,

卷来卷去。

二

登山头,

望城里,

只见黑沉沉的屋顶,

鳞次栉比,

街道上尘烟里,生灵挤挤。

三

教堂前,

钟声里,

白衣的牧师,

和黑裙黑披的老妇女,

聚复散,散复聚。

四

歌舞场,

繁华地,

白的红的,黑的绿的,

高冠长裙,笑语依稀。

五

庙堂中,

柴堆里,

几块破烂的木头,

当年受香烟礼拜的的偶像,

面目未朽,未朽!

六

战场上,

壕沟里,

枪炮倒在败草间,

到处残破的房间,

肢体,血痕缕缕。

七

天灾国,

饥荒地,

草木尽稀,

小儿不啼,

黑灰色的空气。

八

心死国,

人荒境,

有影无行,

有声无气,

深谷里的规子,见月不啼。

九

噫!

噫!

十

幻想破,

上帝死,

半夜梦醒睡以尽,

但这黑昏昏,阴森森,

鬼棱棱。

十一

这心头,

压着全世界的重量,咳!全宇宙

这精神的宇宙,

这宇宙的宇宙,

都是空,空,空……

十二

休!

休!

----------

Pessimism

By Xu Zhimo

1

A field of fresh green grass,

A cow eats the grass,

It shakes its head and swishes its tail,

Clear white clouds in the sky

Spool together and fall away.

2

Climb to the top of a mountain,

Look at the city below,

All you can see is the sinking black of roofs

Row upon row of them,

On the streets and in the dust and smoke

Souls are squeezed tight.

3

Before a church,

At the ringing of a bell

Priests in white frocks

And old women in black skirts, black shawls

Come then go again, go then come again.

4

The ampitheaters,

The areas of great prosperty,

White and red, black and green,

Tall hats and long skirts, vague smiles and speech.

5

Inside a temple,

In the piles of incense,

Several pieces glow as they burn,

This year receives idols worshiped by incense,

Faces that shall not be forgotten, not forgotten!

6

On the fields of battle,

In the soggy ditches,

Guns and artillery lay on the fields of defeat,

In the crumbled wrecks of buildings,

Limbs, covered in bloody scars.

7

Kingdom of calamity,

Land of famine,

Grass gathering around the thinning trees,

Little children who do not cry,

The air of soot.

8

Kingdom where the soul dies,

Land of ruined men,

Shadows without form,

Sounds without breath,

The cuckoos in the deep valleys,

Do not call at the moon.

9

Oh!

Oh!

10

Phantom destroyer,

God of death,

Being awoken from midnight dreams is enough,

But this persistent dim, this forest of darkness

Demons sharpened on demons…

11

This heart

Pressed by the weight of the entire world, ack! The entire universe

This spirit of the universe

This universe of universes

Are nothing, nothing, nothing…

12

Stop!

Stop!

posted by ferret at 11:44 am  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Epigram #5

Technology is not progress;

It is amplification.

posted by ferret at 4:21 pm  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

When someone asks me what it means to live in China

I do not speak.

I breathe in deeply and exhale slowly

Like it’s the middle of winter

Watching my breath dissipate into the air

Lit with the glow of a million fireworks

Taking to the heavens in unison

Banging on the dome of the sky

With the hopes of a million people

Shuffling through the streets of vermillion

Kicking up the ash and empty mortars with their toes.

posted by ferret at 1:17 pm  

Powered by WordPress