scruta

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

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Translation: 春晓

Your humble Ferret recently went to a banquet at a very fancy Cantonese restaurant and stuffed himself silly.

While eating some “hand-fried squid” (手炸鱿鱼), I noticed that they were sitting on a piece of paper with a Chinese poem written on it.

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Having 干杯’d a little too much wine, I attempted to read it 繁体字 and all in front of some Chinese folks. I did okay and only made a few mistakes, blustering my way through it like a 7 year old. But it didn’t really matter anyway. All the Chinese people there knew it by heart.

<春晓>
唐•孟浩然

春眠不觉晓
处处闻啼鸟
夜来风雨声
花落知多少

“Springtime Awakening”

Meng Haoran (Tang)

A springtime sleep, day breaks without me knowing
Everywhere I hear birdsong
The night was full of the sound of storms
Who knows how many flowers have fallen?

(Apparently there is a political angle to all of this, i.e. flowers getting blown away in the night. I don’t know what that had to do with fried squid. 炒鱿鱼 maybe?)

posted by ferret at 6:11 pm  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

False Start #67

These languages are homes for my spirit.

My Chinese? An apartment in a great highrise of thousands. The doors are new but flimsy. The floors are half finished (the name for them often escapes me). The scrolls of ancient poems line the walls, most of them tattered and ripped in half. It’s cold, but there’s a heater in the corner. It’s broken a lot of the time. I should get someone to fix it, but a lot of times I don’t want to.

My Latin? A faded postcard of a house that looks like hundreds of houses that I see everywhere. What knowledge of this house I have from the picture gives me the feeling that I know hundreds of houses intimately. I feel myself to be veritable architect. I make wild assertions when I am in other homes and occasionally I am correct. I stun others. Most of the time I’m wrong.

My Greek? A foggy island lost on a foggy sea.

My Spanish? A decaying treehouse in the forest built by children. It’s shoddily built. I don’t dare to climb up into it.

My English? A worn-in rambler. I think I know every inch of it and every corner. I feel as if I can remember the day every piece of furniture was placed inside it. Still, every once in a while I’m intrigued. That air vent! Was it always there? That hole in the corner near the closet! How did that come about? That trap door in the cellar! I swear it leads to other worlds…

posted by ferret at 1:51 pm  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

High

Skyscrapers unfolding in the cold night air

Petals of iron bars and green mesh ready to fall away

And you too are what you are, unfolding in the night

This skin, this fragile frame ready to slip off

And let you reach for the sky.

posted by ferret at 1:55 am  

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