I am carried through these listless days
Still frantic and amazed
Crying with awe at every sight
As pink skies fly into the night
Still the world moves quick
And I’m full of hope
My expectations taut
Tight as rope
I’m a tightrope walker
Walking where I please
I feel the adrenaline
Fly through my knees
There are fantastic dreams
That still catch my eye
Although most of my visions
Are programmed, by and by
There are still adulations
To be cried to all above
Although most of life
Is lost in regular push and shove
I want my smile to be a touchstone
A reminder in my mirror’s gaze
That yes! yes, I am living!
Through all these listless days
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.
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.
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?)
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.
Away from here and far
Where the ocean meets the land
And the sun peaks down
Through the curtain of clouds
Like the iris of an eye
Blinded long ago.
No one will see you here
Where the streets pulse
Against the limits of nothingness
And the windows of the houses
Are shut tight against the rising black.
If you shine here, you can
Only shine like a star
Burning hard and fast
Raging with a fire to stay alive
Raging with a fire those outside
Can never know.
Learning Chinese in Shanghai:
A shopkeeper insists on using English
To sell me Chinese books.
The checkered patterns of these linen hearts
Will ripple in the summer breezes
Dry and fresh, they will wonder how they’ve grown.
And about humanity?
We are just not monkeys –
Where you put the emphasis tells the tale.
You have to step away from the past
To see that it’s passed.
Love isn’t difficult;
It’s actually quite simple,
And that’s what’s so difficult about it.
Live with the strength of bamboo shoots,
Climb to the sky; affirm your roots.