Selected Poems of Chen Li   Introduction to His Poems   mail toChen Li
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  Top 20 Poems by
Chen Li

 

1. A War Symphony

2. Microcosmos

3. The Edge of the Island

4. Nocturnal Fish

5. A Lesson in Ventriloquy

6. Taroko Gorge, 1989

7. Hualien

8. Gliding Exexcises

9. A Cup of Tea

10. 18 Touches

11. Footprints in the Snow (two versions)

12. Autumn Song

13. Spring

14. Furniture Music

15. In the Corners of Our Lives

16. Butterfly-Mad

17. Wooden Fish Ballad

18. Postcards for Messiaen

19. Autocracy

20. The Ropewalker

 


 

1. A War Symphony

戰爭交響曲

See an animation of the poem by Wu Xiu-jing & the poet reading it


Note:
The Chinese character
(pronounced as "bing") means "soldier."
and (pronounced as "ping" and "pong"), which look like one-legged soldiers,
are two onomatopoeic words imitating sounds of collision or gunshots.
The character
(pronounced as "chiou") means "hill."

*

書法家于明詮筆下的《戰爭交響曲》
Calligraphy by Yu Ming-Quan
 


 

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》

 

 

 

 

 


         2. Microcosmos  (12 selections)

小宇宙

彭智薇 繪圖Illustrated by Peng Chih-wei
 

I wait and long for you:

a rolling dice in the empty bowl of night

attempting to turn on a seventh side

 

我等候,我渴望你:

一粒骰子在夜的空碗裡

企圖轉出第七面

 


*

A great event on the desolate

winter day: ear wax

drops on the desk 


寂寥冬日裡的重大

事件:一塊耳屎

掉落在書桌上

 


*

All the sorrow of night will be turned into golden

ears of rice by daylight, to be

reaped by another sorrowful night

 

所有夜晚的憂傷都要在白日

轉成金黃的稻穗,等候

另一個憂傷的夜晚收割

 


*

Multiplication table for kids of cloud and fog:

mountain times mountain equals tree, mountain times tree

equals me, mountain times me equals nothingness…

   

雲霧小孩的九九乘法表:

山乘山等於樹,山乘樹等於

我,山乘我等於虛無……

 


*

Having constantly broken world records

our lonely shot-putter throws his head out

in one put

   

在不斷打破世界記錄之後

我們孤寂的鉛球選手,一舉

把自己的頭擲出去

 


*

White skin turns a mole

into an isle: I miss the glistening

vast ocean within your clothes

   

一顆痣因肉體的白

成為一座島:我想念

你衣服裡波光萬頃的海

 

 

*

Violent love brought about pleasant injury:

I perspired the sweat equivalent to five boxes of grapefruit

you had twenty-one hairs broken

 

激烈的愛帶來的愉快的傷亡:

我流失了五箱葡萄柚的汗汁

你折斷了二十一根頭髮

 


*

The story of marriage: a closet of loneliness plus

a closet of loneliness equals

a closet of loneliness

 

婚姻物語:一個衣櫃的寂寞加

一個衣櫃的寂寞等於

一個衣櫃的寂寞

 


*

Chirping competition:

zero-year-old old cicadas teach zero-year-old

baby cicadas to sing Happy Birthday

 

爭鳴:

O歲的老蟬教O歲的

幼蟬唱「生日快樂」

 


*

 Great fleeing: let me hide inside

you, like water melting in water,

seen by the world, found by no one

 

大逃亡:讓我藏身在你
裡面,像水溶於水,被
全世界看見,又沒有人發現

 


*

Amour, or no more?

I say amour, you say no more; I say

no more no more no more, you say amour I mourn no more

   

愛,或者唉?
我說愛,你說唉;我說
唉唉唉,你說愛哀唉

 


*

Ah man, come and

take a selfie:

                     encaged

  

人啊,來一張

存在的寫真:

              

 


(1993 / 2006) 
 
Translated by Chang Fen-ling
& Jennifer Feeley
 

—— from Microcosmos & Microcosmos II  
陳黎詩集
《小宇宙》&《小宇宙 II 》

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The Edge of the Island

島嶼邊緣 


On the world map on a scale of one to forty million
our island is an imperfect yellow button

dangling on a blue uniform

My existence is a transparent thread

thinner than spider's silk, going out my window facing

the sea to bind the island and ocean together

 

At the edge of lonely days, in the crevice

between the new year and old

thought is like a book of mirrors, freezing

the ripples of time

Thumbing through it, you’ll see pages of an obscure

past, flashing upon each mirror

 

another secret button—

like an invisible tape recorder, pressed against

your breast, repeatedly recording and playing

your and all of mankind's memories—

a mix tape of love and hate

dream and reality, sorrow and joy

 

What you hear now is

the sound of the world

the heartbeats of all the dead and living

plus your own. If you call with all your heart

the dead and the living will speak to you

in clear voices

 

At the edge of the island, on the boundary

of sleep and awake

my hand is holding my needle-like existence

threading through the yellow button polished and rounded

by the island people, piercing hard into

the heart of the earth beneath the blue uniform

 

*

See Chen Li  reading the poem "The Edge of Island" in Chinese at his hometown Hualien

 

 

在縮尺一比四千萬的世界地圖上

我們的島是一粒不完整的黃鈕釦

鬆落在藍色的制服上

我的存在如今是一縷比蛛絲還細的

透明的線,穿過面海的我的窗口

用力把島嶼和大海縫在一起

 

在孤寂的年月的邊緣,新的一歲

和舊的一歲交替的縫隙

心思如一冊鏡書,冷冷地凝結住

時間的波紋

翻閱它,你看到一頁頁模糊的

過去,在鏡面明亮地閃現

 

另一粒秘密的釦子——

像隱形的錄音機,貼在你的胸前

把你的和人類的記憶

重疊地收錄、播放

混合著愛與恨,夢與真

苦難與喜悅的錄音帶

 

現在,你聽到的是

世界的聲音

你自己的和所有死者、生者的

心跳。如果你用心呼叫

所有的死者和生者將清楚地

和你說話

 

在島嶼邊緣,在睡眠與

甦醒的交界

我的手握住如針的我的存在

穿過被島上人民的手磨圓磨亮的

黃鈕釦,用力刺入

藍色制服後面地球的心臟

 

(1993)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling
 

—— from Traveling in the Family 
陳黎詩集
《家庭之旅》

 

 

 

 

 

4. Nocturnal Fish

夜間魚 

Hear Chen Li read the poem in Chinese


In the night I turn into a fish

an amphibian

suddenly rich and free from having nothing

 

Emptiness? Yes

as empty as the vast space

I swim in a night darker and wetter than your vagina

like a cosmopolitan

 

Yes, the cosmos is my city

Seen from any of our city swimming pools

Europe is but a dry and shrunken piece of pork

and Asia a chipped tea bowl by a stinking ditch

 

Go fill it with your sweet familial love

fill it with your pure water of ethics and morality

fill it with your bathwater replaced every other day

 

I am an amphibian

with nothing and with nothing to fear

I perch in the vast universe

I perch in your dreams each day and night

 

A bather bathed in rain and combed by wind

 

I swagger across your sky

across the death and life you can never escape

 

Do you still boast of freedom?

 

Come, and appreciate a fish

appreciate a space fish suddenly rich

and free, because of your forsaking

 

*

在夜間,我變成了一條魚

一個因一無所有突然富有、自由起來的

兩棲類

 

虛無?是的

虛無一如浩瀚的太空

我泅游在比你的陰道還濕還黑的夜裡

像一個四海為家的人

 

是的,宇宙是我的城市

從我們任何一座市立游泳池往下望

歐羅巴只不過是一塊乾癟的豬肉

而亞細亞正像是臭水溝旁的破茶碗

 

去裝你們的甜蜜親情吧

裝你們倫理、道德的白開水

裝你們隔天換一次的洗澡水

 

我是一個一無所有又一無所懼的

兩棲類

棲息在浩瀚的宇宙

棲息在你日日夜夜的夢裡

 

一個櫛風沐雨的沐浴者

 

大條大條地游過你的天空

游過你無所逃遁的生生死死

 

你還要誇耀你的自由嗎?

 

來吧,體認一條魚

體認一條,因你的棄絕,突然富有

自由起來的太空魚

(1994)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling
  
 

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. A Lesson in Ventriloquy

腹語課

 

Music: Hong Chung-Kun / Image: Wu Xiu-jing



 

*

惡勿物務誤悟鎢塢騖蓩噁岉蘁齀痦逜埡芴
軏杌婺鶩堊沕迕遻鋈矹粅阢靰焐卼煟扤屼
我是溫柔的……
屼扤煟卼焐靰阢粅矹鋈遻迕沕堊鶩婺杌軏
芴埡逜痦齀蘁岉噁蓩騖塢鎢悟誤務物勿惡
我是溫柔的……

惡餓俄鄂厄遏鍔扼鱷蘁餩嶭蝁搹圔軶豟豟
顎呃愕噩軛阨鶚堊諤蚅砨砐櫮鑩岋堮枙齶
萼咢啞崿搤詻閼頞堨堨頞閼詻搤崿啞咢萼
齶枙堮岋鑩櫮砐砨蚅諤堊鶚阨軛噩愕呃顎
豟軶圔搹蝁嶭餩蘁鱷扼鍔遏厄鄂俄餓(
而且善良
……

(1994)
Translated by Chang Fen-ling

Note:
Ventriloquy is an art of speaking with no or little lip movements. This poem can be viewed as a variation on the theme of the Beauty and the Beast, monologue done by a man, or the beast, toward his beloved, the beauty. A man has wanted to speak words of love or make some confession to his beloved. He tries very hard to use ventriloquy to say “I am gentle and kind,” but somehow, he is too nervous or too shy to express himself properly. Before the right words are uttered, what come out are numerous twisted sounds which either seem unrelated or imply evil intentions. The beast produces a lot of odd-looking words with the same sounds. Chen Li obviously found all the weird characters with the help of the computer for this audio-visually striking Chinese poem.


〈腹語課〉為一情詩,全詩主要由跟惡 (ㄨ`) 與惡 (ㄜ`) 同音的一堆字組成,說話者欲向其所愛者表達心中溫柔善良的情意,不意卻吐出一堆惡形惡狀的語字。
 

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Taroko Gorge, 1989

太魯閣.一九八九

 

1
In a drizzly chilly spring I ponder over the subtle meaning of your silence

Your vastness is a kind of close intimacy
The towering mountain walls lie flat at the bottom of my heart like a grain of sand
Clouds and fog push gently by
Lushness revolves and pauses in moisture
The tenderness is like breath
like the gentle falling of a leaf, the slow flight of a bird
and the blossoming of a tree
on the steep and slippery mountaintop and cliff
Your profundity takes in misery and ecstasy
as solemn as a lush rain forest
or a dark blue starlit sky. Your sonority is
like lively rabbits and fowls
passing through last summer's torrential mountain floods
galloping on the sunny morning
I seem to hear the calling of life to life
in the deep pond where I used to play in my childhood
in the dream from which I awoke with a start last night
I seem to see the passion of history
twisted and frozen by time
on the surface of crinkled and rugged rocks
at the bottom of the valley tumbling with rocks  
whose veins run like clouds and water
in the endless gaze between mountains
in the endless reflection of the sky and earth

Still you simply look silently at me
walking on your mountain path
You look at me, time after time
stumbling before you
just like those who have fallen, bled and died
in your arms for the past thousands of years

2
How many times you have left your children
stumbling, hurt and rising in your arms
How many times you have left them
proceeding and lost in the luxuriant forest scattered with rotten leaves
You see youth splashing like flying waterfalls
flowing into the distant ocean with mountain streams
You see floating clouds loaded with dreams
vanishing slowly into more giant dreams
You let them search for massive rocks to meditate on
You let them lean on the toll of bells to go into the evening
They grow in the torrential rain
You have left them standing by the broken cliff
watching water dripping through rocks
watching time flowing by like a river day and night

Time flows by like a river day and night
You allowed the red-haired Spaniards to gather gold dust in your gorge
You allowed the red-haired Dutchmen to gather gold dust in your gorge
You allowed the Chinese driven over the sea by the Manchus to gather gold dust in your gorge
You allowed the Japanese who drove the Manchus away to gather gold dust in your gorge

To build fortresses, set up cannons, and kill in your gorge
To build fortresses, set up cannons, and kill on your mountainside
To build fortresses, set up cannons, and kill on your streamhead

You heard the Han people enter and say to those under their knives
"Surrender, Taroko barbarians!"
You heard the Japanese enter and say to the people under their guns
"Surrender, Taroko barbarians!"
You watched those tattooed people move gradually from the depth of the mountain to its foot
from the foot of the mountain to the plain
You watched them gradually leave their homes
in silence

3
You watched them gradually leave their homes
and come to you
those Chinese who were driven over the sea by the Chinese

With postwar explosives, nostalgia, bulldozers
they dug new dreams among your tangled bones
Some were missing in the tunnels they themselves had dug
Some sank into the eternal abyss with falling rocks
Some had one arm or one leg left
standing in the wind like a persevering tree
Some took off old robes, picked up hoes
and nailed new doorplates by the newly-built road
>From the girls whom they were newly acquainted with in the strange land, they learned
to graft, mix blood, propagate
Just like the California plums, cabbages, Twentieth-century pears they grew time and again
they planted themselves into your body

They hung new names of places over the newly-built roads
In spring
their great leader, wearing medals of honor
came to a place named Tianxiang to appreciate fallen plum blossoms
They paved the royal couches on the hot-spring path, with hot vapor overhead
reciting aloud
The Song of Righteousness
But you are neither Huaqing Pool nor Mawei Slope
nor the vague, distant Chinese landscape

That famous painting master Da-qian, with his trembling hand
touching his beautiful beard, more elusive than mountain cloud and fog
painted nostalgia extravagantly with half-abstract splashes of ink on your concrete face
They painted the picture of the Yangtze River on your mountain wall
Yet you are not landscape, not the mountains and rivers in the Chinese landscape painting
What hangs down from your forehead is neither Li Tang's
Whispering Pines in the Mountains
nor Fan Kuan's Traveling among Rivers and Mountains
To those who visit you in air-conditioned tourist buses
you are beautiful landscape
(They are just like the Portuguese who cried out "Formosa"
in a strange tone when their ship passed by the ocean in the east four hundred years ago)
Yet you are not Formosa, though you are beautiful
You are not the landscape to be carried, hung, or displayed
You are living, you are life
you are the great and truthful existence to
those people of yours
who vibrate and breathe with the pulse of your veins

4
I'm looking for the foggy dawn
I'm looking for the first black long-tailed pheasant that flew over the gorge
I'm looking for the indigo and the euphorbia that peeped at each other through crevices
I'm looking for the red knees of the setting sun that chased the flying squirrels
I'm looking for the calendars of trees that changed their colors with the changes in temperatures
I'm looking for the tribe of wind
I'm looking for the rites of fire
I'm looking for the footsteps of mountain boars that echoed with the sound of bows
I'm looking for the bamboo houses of dreams that slept on the pillows of floods
I'm looking for architecture
I'm looking for navigation
I'm looking for the crying stars in mourning
I'm looking for the mountain moon which, like a hook, hung up the bloody night and the gorge
I'm looking for the fingers that tied themselves with wires and hung down thousand-foot-high cliffs to explode with the mountain
I'm looking for the light that dug through the wall
I'm looking for the skull that hit the bow of a ship
I'm looking for the heart that was buried in strange soil
I'm looking for a suspension bridge, a song without a shoelace maybe
I'm looking for the caves of echoes, a group of significant vowels and consonants:

Tangarao, Bunkium, Tupido
Tanlongan, Losao, Teruwan
Topogo, Sumeg, Lupog
Kobayan, Balanao, Botonof
Kumoxel, Kalagi, Baga-Paras
Kalapao, Tabula, Lapax
Qesia, Busiya, Tassil
Sexengan, Sidagan, Sikalaxen
Qaugwan, Tomowan, Bolowan
Vetodan, Putsingan, Senlingan
Daoleg, Degalan, Degiag
Sakadan, Palatan, Sowasal
Bunayan, Bololin, Tabokyan
Owai, Doyun, Batakan
Dagali, Xoxos, Waxel
Sikui, Bokusi, Mogoyisi
*

5
I'm looking for the cave of echoes
pondering over the secret of the humble residence on earth
in a drizzly chilly spring
When autumn came, they traveled together on the mountain path in the gorge
What were waiting in the woods or by the stream
might be a group of suddenly-swarming monkeys
might be two ownerless bamboo houses standing silently
by the desolate plowland
Farther into the ancient path, they crossed a shrub of weeds
and encountered again the Japanese army trench lying in ambush
Still farther on was an aboriginal hunting hut built of thatches
with a couple of broken pottery pieces left by
the latest party of archeologists

We pass by Huitowan
and arrive at the suspension bridge where stand nine plum trees
At the place where Japanese policemen used to be stationed, a modern postman
happily distributes mail into different mailboxes
It may be taken away by the old veterans living at Water Lily Pond
who will cross the suspension bridge after two hours' walk
or by the women living at Plum Village
who will come jolting all the way down in a cart

You jolt along into the evening village
A healthy village boy runs excitedly to greet you
His agile figure is like the wild deer that his maternal grandfather
hunted fifty years ago
"Papa has made good tea for you!"
Bamboo Village, the name of their hometown
so much like the poetry of Tang Dynasty his father read in his youth
Just like the Atayal people who plowed and hunted here fifty years ago
they crossed the sea and became the owners of the land
growing their fruit trees, raising their children

6
In the drizzly chilly spring I ponder over the secret of
the humble residence on earth
One toll pushes another
Mountains stand beyond mountains
I go up the steps, in the twilight approaching slantwise
the Buddhist chanting of the mountaintop temple
Like the repeated beats of waves
like your vast existence

how simple and yet complicated the low, repeated chanting is
tolerating the infinitesimal and the vast
tolerating the distressed and the joyous
tolerating strangeness
tolerating imperfection
tolerating loneliness
tolerating hatred
Just like the low-browed benevolent Bodhisattva, you too are
the silent Goddess of Mercy
impartially looking on the creation of the heaven and the earth, the death of trees and the birth of insects
The landscape speaks aloud, the skies are boundless
I seem to hear the calling of life to life
It goes through the crystal look of mountains and waters
through the caves of eternal echoes
and reaches tonight

The towering mountain walls lie flat at the bottom of my heart like a grain of sand

Note
:

   The above are the ancient names of the places in Taroko Gorge. In the Atayal language they refer to different meanings.
For example, Tupido, now called Tianxiang, originally means "palm tree;" Losao originally means "swamp;"


Tabokyan originally means "sowing;" Putsingan originally means "a must for passing;" Bolowan originally means "echo."

 

    Tianxiang: a place in Taroko Gorge, named after Wen Tian-xiang (1236-1282), a heroic character in the last reign of Sung Dynasty,
who fought against the invaders only to be captured. Refusing to surrender, he was executed after three years'
imprisonment.
Before the execution, he wrote The Song of Righteousness to express his loyalty and patriotism for the native land.


    Huaqing Pool and Mawei Slope: names of places in Tang Dynasty.


Yang Yu-huan (719-756), Tang Xuan-zong's favorite concubine, bathed in the former, and was forced to hang herself on the latter.


    Da-qian (Zhang Da-qian, 1899-1983): a master of the traditional Chinese water-and-ink painting. Living in Taiwan in the last years
 of his life, he painted mostly the scenery of Mainland China.


Li Tang and Fan Kuan: two major Chinese painters of Sung Dynasty, famous for their landscape paintings.


Formosa (meaning "beautiful"): another name for Taiwan given by the Portuguese who reached it in 1590.


The indigo (Indigofera ramulosissims) and the euphorbia (Euphor-bia tarokoensis): two rare species of plants found in Taroko Gorge.


    In Part Four, Chen Li lists twenty images of search, which is an attempt to lead readers into the heart of Taroko Gorge to look for its origins,
to take a glimpse at "the secret of the humble residence on earth." He also lists forty-eight ancient names of spots in Taroko Gorge.
To the outsiders, they may be meaningless sounds, but to the Atayals, they are significant, vividly revealing the local features. The reason why
Chen Li makes such a long list is obvious: he is eagerly inviting readers to go on a journey of retrospection to the lost culture of Taiwan.

(1989)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling
 

See a short video of Chen Li's "Taroko Gorege, 1989" with the poet reading it

 

1
在微雨的春寒裡思索你靜默的奧義

那寬廣是一親密的貼近
萬仞山壁如一粒沙平放心底
雲霧推抹
濕潤中流轉、靜止的千綠
那溫柔彷彿呼吸
如一葉之輕落,如一鳥之徐飛
又彷彿一樹花之開放

在陡峭光滑的巖頂絕壁
那深沈納苦惱與狂喜
莊嚴若蓊鬱的雨林
墨藍的星空,那激越
如兔脫禽動
穿過去夏滂沱的山洪
奔躍於陽光的早晨

我彷彿聽見生命對生命的呼喊
在童年遊戲的深潭
在昨夜驚覺的夢境

我彷彿看見被時間扭轉、凝結的
歷史的激情
在褶皺曲折的岩面
在亂石崩疊的谷底
那紋路如雲似水
在無窮盡山與山的對視間
在無窮盡天與地的映照裡

然而你仍只是不言不語地看著我
行走過你的山路
看著我,一次又一次地
在你的面前仆倒
一如千百年來那些在你懷裡
跌倒的,流血的,死去的

2
多少次,你讓你的孩子在你的懷裡
跌倒,受傷又站起來
多少次,你讓他們在腐葉四佈的密林
行進並且迷路
你看見青春像飛瀑急濺
隨澗水流入遙遠的大海
你看見浮雲負載夢幻
緩緩消失於更巨大的夢幻
你讓他們尋覓一塊磐石靜坐沈思
你讓他們攀倚著鐘聲進入黃昏
在暴雨中成長
你讓他們佇立在斷裂的崖邊
看滴水穿石
看逝者如斯夫不舍晝夜

逝者如斯夫不舍晝夜
你讓紅毛的西班牙人到你的峽口採取砂金
你讓紅毛的荷蘭人到你的峽口採取砂金
你讓被滿州人驅逐過海的中國人到你的峽口採取砂金
你讓驅逐走滿州人的日本人到你的峽口採取砂金

到你的峽口築壘,架砲,殺人
到你的山腰築壘,架砲,殺人
到你的溪頭築壘,架砲,殺人

你聽走進來的漢人對刀下的人說:
「投降吧,太魯閣番!」
你聽走進來的日本人對槍下的人說:
「投降吧,太魯閣番!」
你看著紋身的他們漸次從深山遷往山麓
從山麓遷往平原
你看著他們漸次離開他們的家
不言不語

3
你看著他們漸次離開他們的家
來到你的身邊
那些被中國人驅逐過海的中國人

帶著戰餘的炸藥,鄉愁,推土機
他們在你糾纏的骨骼間開鑿新的夢
有的失蹤於自己挖掘的隧道
有的跟著落石沈入永恆的深淵
有的留下一隻手,一隻腳
學堅毅的樹站立風中
有的脫掉舊袍,拿起鋤頭
在新開的路旁釘立新的門牌
跟著新認識的異鄉女子,他們學習
接枝,混血,繁殖
一如一遍遍種下去的加州李,高麗菜,二十世紀梨
他們把自己種進你的身體

他們把新的地名掛在新開的路上
春天的時候
他們偉大的領袖,戴著勛章
到一個叫天祥的地方撿賞落盡的梅花
他們把御榻鋪在溫泉的小徑,頂著熱氣
大聲朗讀正氣歌
但你不是華清池,不是馬嵬坡
不是迢遙朦朧的中國山水

那有名的大千居士,顫巍巍地扶著
比山間雲霧還虛無的美髯
在你具體的臉上
用半抽象的潑墨揮霍鄉愁
他們在你的山壁上畫長江萬里圖
但你不是山水,不是山水畫裡的山水
從你額際懸下的不是李唐的萬壑松風圖
不是范寬的谿山行旅圖
對於那些坐著冷氣巴士遊覽你的人
你是美麗的風景
(就像四百年前乘船經過東邊海上,用奇特的聲調
呼喊福爾摩莎的葡萄牙人)
但你不叫福爾摩莎,雖然你是美麗的
你不是帶走的、掛著的、展覽的風景
你是生活,你是生命
你是偉大真實的存在,對於那些
跟著你的血脈一同顫動、一同呼吸的
你的子民

4
我尋找濃霧的黎明
我尋找第一隻飛過峽口的黑長尾雉
我尋找隙縫中互相窺視的木藍與大戟
我尋找高聲讚頌海與旭照的最初的舌頭
我尋找追逐鼯鼠的落日的紅膝蓋
我尋找跟隨溫度變換顏色的樹的月曆
我尋找風的部落
我尋找火的祭典
我尋找跟著彎弓響起的山豬的腳步聲
我尋找枕著洪水睡眠的夢的竹屋
我尋找建築術
我尋找航海學
我尋找披著喪服哭泣的星星
我尋找吊鉤般懸起血夜與峽谷的山月
我尋找以鐵索綑綁自身,自千丈高崖垂下將自己與山一起炸開的手指

我尋找鑿壁的光
我尋找碰撞船首的頭顱
我尋找埋魂異鄉的心
我尋找一座吊橋,一條沒有鞋帶的的歌也許是
我尋找回聲的洞穴,一群意義豐富的母音子音:


桐卡荖,旁給揚,塔比多
礑翁乾,洛韶,托魯灣

托博閣,斯米可,魯玻可
可巴洋,巴拉腦,巴托諾夫
卡莫黑爾,卡魯給,玻卡巴拉斯

喀拉胞,達布拉,拉巴侯
卡希亞,玻希璃,達希魯
希黑干,希達岡,希卡拉汗
卡奧灣,托莫灣,普洛灣
伏多丹,巴支干,欣里干
得呂可,得卡倫,得給亞可
沙卡丹,巴拉丹,蘇瓦沙魯
布拿俺,玻魯琳,達布可俺
烏歪,陀泳,巴達幹
達給黎,赫赫斯,瓦黑爾
斯可依,玻可斯伊,莫可依希
(註)

5
我尋找回聲的洞穴
在微雨的春寒裡思索這卑微地上
居留的秘密
秋天的時候,他們結伴行走於峽谷的山道
在樹林間、溪水邊等候的
也許是一群忽然湧出的獼猴
也許是兩間沒有主人的竹屋,靜立在
荒廢的耕地旁
在更遠的古道,他們跨過一叢蔓草
再一次遭遇埋伏的日軍戰壕
更遠處是一座茅草搭建的山胞獵寮
以及兩三塊,最近一批考古隊員
留下來的陶片

我們繞過迴頭灣
行至九株老梅所在的吊橋
在日本警察駐在的地方,一個現代郵差
愉快地把郵件分投進不同的信箱裡
取走它們的也許是走兩小時路,過吊橋來的
蓮花池老兵
也許是坐著搬運車一路顛簸而下的
梅村婦女

你們顛簸地走進黃昏的村落
一個強健的村中男孩興奮地跑過來迎接
矯捷的身影彷若五十年前他外祖父
追獵的山鹿
「爸爸已經燒好茶等你們了!」
竹村,他們家園的名字
多麼像他父親年少時讀過的唐人的詩句
一如五十年前在此耕獵的泰雅族人
他們過海成為這塊土地的主人
種植他們的果樹,養育他們的兒女

6
在微雨的春寒裡思索這卑微地上
居留的秘密

鐘聲推移鐘聲
群山在群山之外
我拾級而上,暮色中傾斜走近巖頂禪寺的梵唱
彷彿那反覆的波浪
彷彿你寬遠的存在
這低迴的誦唱何其單純又何其繁複啊
包容那幽渺的與廣大的
包容那苦惱的與喜悅的
包容奇突
包容殘缺
包容孤寂
包容仇恨
一如那低眉悲慈的菩薩,你也是
不言不語的觀世音
無緣、同體地觀看天開地闢,樹死蟲生
山水有音,日月無窮
我彷彿聽見生命對生命的呼喊
穿過空明的山色,水色
穿過永恆的回聲的洞穴
到達今夜

萬仞山壁如一粒沙平放心底


這些是太魯閣國家公園區內的古地名,在泰雅族語裡皆各有所指。如塔比多,今之天祥,原意為「棕樹」;洛韶,原意為「沼澤」;
達布可俺,原意為「播種」;巴支干,原意為「必經之路」;普洛灣,原意為「回音」


Chen Li's handwriting of the poem "Taroko Gorege, 1989"











—— from Rainstorm  畢費.jpg (2343 bytes)
陳黎詩集
《 暴雨》

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Hualien

花蓮
 

 
 

With waves, with surfs, with the sea

with a swash, a swoosh, a splash, with lush

depths of waters and sable currents

whitecaps, crests of crests, waves urging waves 

in the backyard garden and rearward ocean

the forward hopes and outward glances

of a sloping backdrop, solid mountains, and soil thick

with a view toward the far away

with breaths, with laughs, with surfs, with laughing surfs

with a sea of joyful tears, with the ocean’s lavish placard

a special announcement of clear skies, with waves…

 

(2014)

Translated by Elaine Wong

 

See Chen Li  reading the poem "Hualien"

 

以浪,以浪,以海

以嘿吼嗨,以厚厚亮亮的

厚海與黑潮,後花園後海洋的

白浪好浪,後浪,後山厚山厚土

厚望與遠望,以遠遠的眺望

以呼吸,以笑,以浪,以笑浪

以喜極而泣的淚海,以海的海報

晴空特報,以浪……

 

註:阿美族語 Widang(朋友),有人音譯為「以浪」。

—— from New Poems 


 

 

 

 

 

8. Gliding Exercises        based on Vallejo's theme  

滑翔練習——用瓦烈赫主題

 

Gliding Exercises: for Soprano and Piano  (Music: Lily Chen / Poem: Chen Li)

 


“At that corner we sleep together plenty of nights.”
 

 

At

such height looking back at the earth

your breath tops my breath

 

We

steer the wind forward, along with

the stars playing truant

 

Sleep together

through such lengthy and dark pre-historic times and Middle Ages and

suddenly wake up

in the modern light

 

Plenty of

wet and glistening golden fleece, and your name, called by the

lips of the whole Milky Way

 

Nights’

medals, words which have been

rubbed and inscribed

 

That

(yes, that) giant warehouse with time as its pillar, where thunder and

lightning and clouds and rain

are stored in its secret

 

corner


Note:
The first line of each stanza of this poem comes from the beginning of a poem in
Trilce by the Peruvian poet
César Vallejo (1892-1938)
“At that corner we sleep together plenty of nights.”  Chen Li divides the sentence into
seven parts, and tries to weave them into this poem of his own, using each part as the first line of each stanza.
It is a pity that owing to the gap between languages the English translation fails to present such a poetic device faithfully.

(1998)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

 

 

「在我們同睡過許多夜晚的那個角落」



這樣的高度回望人間
你的呼吸在我的呼吸之上

 

我們
御風而行,還有
逃學的星星

 

同睡過
如此冗長而黑暗的上古時代中古時代後突然醒來在
當代的光裡

 

許多
潮濕發亮的金羊毛,被整條銀河的唇呼喚著的
你的名

 

夜晚的
勳章,被撫摸,被拓印的
語字

 

那個
(是的那個)蒐藏雷電蒐藏雲雨以時間為脊樑的巨大
倉庫的秘密

 

角落

 

   註:

「在我們同睡過許多夜晚的那個角落」,祕魯詩人瓦烈赫 (Vallejo, 1892-1938)  詩集 Trilce 裡兩首詩的開頭。
 

—— from The Cat at the Mirror 
陳黎詩集
《貓對鏡》

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. A Cup of Tea

一茶 

 

 

And then I know
what the time for a cup of tea means

 

I waited in the crowded and noisy station building
for the one who was late for the appointment
to appear on the bitterly cold winter day
I carefully held a full cup of
hot tea
carefully added to it sugar and milk
stirring gently
sipping gently

 

You casually opened the slim collection 
of Issa's haiku that you had in your luggage:
"A world of dew; yet
within the dewdrops—quarrels..."
This crowded station was a dewdrop within
a dewdrop, dropped
in the tea deeper with every sip

 

A cup of tea
at first hot, turned warm, and then cold
Things on my mind
ranged from poetry to dreams to reality
In ancient times—
in the world of Chinese serial novels or
tales of chivalry—
it would be the time for a cup of tea
in which a swordsman drew his sword wiping out the besieging rascals
and a hero was enraptured and enchanted before the bed of a fair lady

 

But modern time has changed its speed
Within about the time for half a cup of tea
you drank up a cup of golden fragrant tea
A cup of tea
going from far to near and then into nothingness
The one for whom you had waited long finally appeared
and asked if you would like one more cup of tea

 

Note:
 
The Chinese title of this poem is the name of the Japanese haiku master Issa (1763-1827),
which means "a cup of tea"
 or "a single bubble in steeping tea."

 

  Hear Chen Li reading the poem "A Cup of Tea" in Chinese 

 

luyen.jpg (11279 bytes)

   Hear the song "A Cup of Tea" (sung in Chinese) composed by Lu Yen (盧炎, 1930-2008) 

 

於是我知道
什麼叫做一杯茶的時間
在擁擠嘈雜的車站大樓
等候逾時未至的那人
在冬日的苦寒中出現
一杯小心端過來的,滿滿的

熱茶
小心地加上糖,加上奶
輕輕攪拌
輕輕啜飲

你隨手翻開行囊中
那本短小的一茶俳句集:
「露珠的世界;然而
在露珠裡
——爭吵……」
這嘈雜的車站是露珠裡的
露珠,滴在
愈飲愈深的奶茶裡

一杯茶
由熱而溫而涼
一些心事
由詩而夢而人生
如果在古代
——

在章回小說或武俠小說的
世界
——
那是在一盞茶的工夫
俠客拔刀殲滅圍襲的惡徒
英雄銷魂顛倒於美人帳前

而時間在現代變了速
約莫過了半盞茶的工夫
你已經喝光一杯金香奶茶
一杯茶
由近而遠而虛無
久候的那人姍姍來到
問你要不要再來一杯茶

 

(1993)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

 

 

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. 18 Touches

十八摸

 

 


 

Note:
  “18 Touches” (
十八摸) is a Chinese popular song with erotic allusions. , , (similar to b, p, m) are three phonetic symbols of Chinese.
Eluan Beak is the southernmost point of Taiwan. Eluan is a transliteration of the Paiwanese word for “sail.”
Red-headed Island is also called Orchid Island, where the Yami (the Tau) people live.
Sosoli
is the plural form of “taro” in Yami language (soli, the singular form), and soso means “breast.”
Turoboan, where the Liwu River runs through, is the ancient name of Hualien, famous for its Taroko Gorge.
Black Ditch is the old name of Taiwan Strait. Chen Li’s original poem in Chinese is shaped to the contour of Taiwan.

(2010)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling


註:鵝鑾,排灣語「帆」的譯音。

—— from New Poems 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Footprints in the Snow (two versions)

雪上足印 (兩種)

 

Footprints in the Snows  (Music: Chen Chiung-yu / Poem: Chen Li)

 

 

 

A. Footprints in the Snow (1976)

Cold makes for sleep
deep
sleep, for
a feeling soft as a swan
Where the snow is soft, a hastily scrawled line is left
in white, white
ink
hastily because of his mood, and the cold:
the hastily scrawled
white snow

 

因冷,需要睡眠
深深的
睡眠,需要
天鵝一般柔軟的感覺
雪鬆的地方留下一行潦草的字跡
並且只用白色,白色的
墨水
因他的心情,因冷
而潦草
白色的雪

(1976)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from Animal Lullaby 

陳黎詩集《動物搖籃曲》

 

 

B. Footprints in the Snow (1995)

 

 

(1995)

Note:
The title of this poem comes from a piano piece by the French composer
Claude Debussy, “Des pas sur la neige” (Preludes: Book 1, No.6).

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》

 

 

 

 

 

12. Autumn Song


 

When dear God uses sudden death
to test our loyalty to the world
we are sitting on a swing woven of the tails of summer and autumn
trying to swing over a tilting wall of experience
to borrow a brooch from the wind that blows in our faces

 

But if all of a sudden our tightly clenched hands
should loosen in the dusk
we have to hold on to the bodies of galloping plains
speaking out loud to the boundless distance about our
colors, smells, shapes

 

Like a tree signing its name with abstract existence
we take off the clothes of leaves one after another
take off the overweight joy, desire, thoughts
and turn ourselves into a simple kite
to be pinned on the breasts of our beloved:

 

a simple but pretty insect brooch
flying in the dark dream
climbing in the memory devoid of tears and whispers
till, once more, we find the light of love is
as light as the light of loneliness, and the long day is but

 

the twin brother of the long night

 

Therefore, we sit all the more willingly on a swing
interwoven of summer and autumn, and willingly mend
the tilting wall of emotion
when dear God uses sudden death
to test our loyalty to the world

 

*

 

當親愛的神用突然的死
測驗我們對世界的忠貞
我們正坐在夏天與秋天尾巴結成的鞦韆
企圖盪過一堵傾斜了的經驗的牆
向迎面而來的風借一只別針

而如果突然,我們緊握住的手
在暮色中鬆開了
我們勢必要抓住奔跑中的平原的身體
向無邊界的遠方大聲說出我們的
顏色,氣味,形狀

像一棵用抽象的存在留下簽名的樹
我們陸續解下樹葉與樹葉的衣裳
解下過重的喜悅,欲望,思想
成為一隻單純的風箏
別在所愛的人的胸前

一隻單純而美的昆蟲別針
在黑暗的夢裡翻飛
在抽走淚水與耳語的記憶裡攀爬
直到,再一次,我們發現愛的光與
孤寂的光等輕,而漫漫長日,只是

漫漫長夜的孿生兄弟

我們於是更甘心坐在夏天與秋天
交尾而成的鞦韆上,甘心修補
一堵傾圮了的感情的牆
當親愛的神用突然的死
測驗我們對世界的忠貞

 

(1993)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Spring

春天

 

 

Oh, world
our hearts have
become legitimately and healthily lustful again

 

*

 

啊,世界
我們的心,又
合法而健康地淫蕩起來了

 

 

(1992)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from Traveling in the Family 
陳黎詩集
《家庭之旅》

 

 

 

 

 

14. Furniture Music

家具音樂

 

Hear Chen Li reading the poem "Furniture Music" in Chinese

 

I read on the chair
I write on the desk
I sleep on the floor
I dream beside the closet

 

I drink water in spring
(The cup is in the kitchen cupboard)
I drink water in summer
(The cup is in the kitchen cupboard)
I drink water in fall
(The cup is in the kitchen cupboard)
I drink water in winter
(The cup is in the kitchen cupboard)

 

I open the window and read
I turn on the light and write
I draw the curtains and sleep
I wake inside the room

 

Inside the room are the chairs
and the dreams of the chairs
Inside the room are the desk
and the dreams of the desk
Inside the room are the floor
and the dreams of the floor
Inside the room are the closet
and the dreams of the closet

 

In the songs that I hear
In the words that I say
In the water that I drink
In the silence that I leave

 

*

我在椅子上看書
我在桌子上寫字
我在地板上睡覺
我在衣櫃旁做夢

我在春天喝水
(杯子在廚房的架子上)
我在夏天喝水
(杯子在廚房的架子上)
我在秋天喝水
(杯子在廚房的架子上)
我在冬天喝水 
(杯子在廚房的架子上)

我打開窗戶看書
我打開桌燈寫字
我拉上窗簾睡覺
我醒來在房間裡面

在房間裡面是椅子
和椅子的夢
在房間裡面是桌子
和桌子的夢
在房間裡面是地板
和地板的夢
在房間裡面是衣櫃
和衣櫃的夢

在我聽到的歌裡
在我說的話裡
在我喝的水裡
在我留下的沈默裡

 

Hear the song "Furniture Music" (sung in Chinese) composed by Lu Yen (盧炎, 1930-2008) 

 

 

 

(1995)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. In the Corners of Our Lives

在我們生活的角落

 

Hear Chen Li reading the poem "In the Corners of Our Lives" in Chinese

 

 

In the corners of our lives live many poems
They may not have reported to the domiciliary registration office 
or received doorplate numbers from the district office or police station
Walking out of the alley, you bump into a jogger speaking on the cell phone
His embarrassed smile reminds you of the aged doctor who polishes his 
young wife's red sports car in front of the house every night 

You realize then
 that they are two sections of a long poem 

 
Objects are
 known to each other, but not necessarily on visiting terms
Some float up to become images, courting and showing affection 
for others. Sound and smell usually conspire first, flirting with each other
on the sly. Colors are the coy little sisters who must stay home
get set the curtain, sheet, bathrobe and tablecloth, wait for their master to return, and turn on 
the lights. A poem, like a home, is a sweet burden

sheltering
 love, lust, pain and sorrow, taking in the good and the bad

 
They needn't go to the health center to be sterilized or to buy condoms
although they do have their own ethics and family planning
Couples of well-matched family backgrounds do not
 
always make the best matches
Water
 can mix well with milk, but it can also be mated with fire 
Whitehead eats black-boned chicken; black-headed flies debate over
whether or not a white horse is a horse. Tender violence
Deafening silence

Incestuous love is 
the poet's license 

 
Some of them choose to live in the shadow of metaphor or woods of symbols
Some are broad-minded and optimistic, like sunny spiders climbing here and there. Some
enjoy living outdoors, talking
 idly and having intercourse; others, like invisible gauze
are scattered in your brain, which is divided into many small suites for rent, from time to time 
switching on the spinning wheel of dream or subconsciousness
Many poems are said to b
e imprisoned in the room of habit. In quest of lines you
close 
the door, overturn boxes and cupboards, call out desperately, and even ride an electronic
donkey,
 drive the mouse and pound the keys. You open the window
to the big wide world, and surprisingly, there they are: 
Irises after the rain. A flock of gulls
on their way home from school. Slanting 
waves of the ocean
The microwave oven boiling tomato soup with
 slices of bean curd 
 
It occurs to you to buy some peas. You go to the supermarket and see
cancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancan
cancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancan
cancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancan
You take one can casually and find what you've been racking
your brains for 
owes its presence to its very absence:
cancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancan

cancancancancancancancan      cancancancancancancancan
cancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancancan
 
A persimmon lies solitarily on the counter. You say

how fantastic, a persimmon lies solitarily on the counter
A line of words forms a family in itself

You can't help suspecting it was immigrated from Japan, or from the High Tang 
when quatrains were flourishing.

But you don't mind at all. You don't mind at all that they'll all fit into
a small shopping bag
 

 

*

在我們生活的角落住著許多詩
它們也許沒有向戶政事務所申報戶口
或者領到一個門牌,從區公所或派出所
走出巷口,你撞到一位邊跑邊打大哥大的慢跑選手
尷尬的笑容讓你想到每天晚上在家門前幫年輕太太
擦紅色跑車的老醫生,原來
它們是一首長詩的兩個段落

物件和物件相聞而不必相往來
一些浮升成為意象,向另一些意象
求歡示好。聲音和氣味往往勾搭在先,暗自互通
聲息。顏色是羞怯的小姊妹,它們必須待在家裡
擺設好窗簾床罩浴袍桌巾,等男主人回家,扭開
燈。一首詩,如一個家,是甜蜜的負擔
收留愛慾苦愁,包容肖與不肖

它們不需到衛生所結紮或購買避孕套
雖然它們也有它們的倫理道德和家庭計畫
門當戶對不見得是最好的匹配
水乳固然可以交融,水火也可以交歡
黑格爾吃白斬雞,黑頭蒼蠅辯論
白馬非馬。溫柔的強暴
震耳欲聾的寂靜
不倫之戀是詩的特權

 

它們有的選擇活在暗喻的陰影或象徵的樹林裡
有的開朗樂觀,像陽光的蜘蛛四處攀爬。有些
喜歡餐風飲露清談野合,有些則像隱形的紗
散佈在分成許多小套房出租的你的腦中,不時
開動夢或潛意識的紡織機
許多詩據說被囚禁在習慣的房間。你閉門
覓句,翻箱倒櫃,苦苦呼喚,甚至騎著電子驢
驅趕滑鼠,敲鍵搜尋。打開窗戶
寬天厚地,它們居然在那裡︰
雨後的鳶尾花。放學回家的
一隊鷗鳥。歪斜的
海的波紋
煮著一鍋番茄和幾片豆腐的微波爐

 

你想到還要幾粒豌豆。你走進超市看到
罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭
罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭
罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭
你隨手拿了一罐,發現挖空心思
,刻意
求索的它,原來因缺席而存在︰
罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭
罐頭罐頭罐頭罐
頭        罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭
罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭罐頭

一顆紅柿孤獨地在收銀台上。你說
妙哉,一顆紅柿孤獨地在收銀台上
一行字自成一戶
你不免懷疑它移民自日本或多絕句的盛唐
但是你完全不在意。完全不在意它們可以全部裝進
一個小小的購物袋

 

(2000)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

Hear Greek actress Keraisa Samara reading Chen Li's "In the Corners of Our Lives" at Athens

 


 


——
from New Poems 

 

 

 

 

16. Butterfly-Mad

迷蝶記

 

 

  

 

Note: This poem is shaped like a butterfly (or several butterflies).

 

(2001)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from New Poems 

 

 

 

 

17. Wooden Fish Ballad

木魚書

 

   Hear the complete poem recited in Cantonese

See Chen Li (in Mandarin Chinese) and Professor Wang Ling (in Cantonese) reading "Wooden Fish Ballad"

             

This is the seventh autumn visiting here

cool wind as usual; autumn typhoons merciless

My feelings missing you are like the flooded

MRT system, with no trains

and so nowhere to go

I am stranded in memories of the past deeper

than the flood in this city

picturing you glancing at the Hello Kitties caught in the twilight by the window

I am in silent contemplation at the computer desk

as the new ring tone just set on the cell phone

rings like birds chirping, and the newsbar on the TV rolls:

Airport closed, transport cut off by land and air

All these add to my sorrow and annoyance in missing you

 

The old testament is hard to break. What I have is a coverless

wordless Bible, carrying last night’s wet dream

and leaking from upstairs like an ever-turning waterwheel

dripping on my heart

All wet, every page of scripture about ecstasy of fish and water

poetry and music, our sacred swimming pool

 

My shining silver-scaled swimming choir

tapped out in rows from electronic wooden fish

pass through the flooded city, through spongy-wrinkly

moonbeams, to swim onto your computer screen

 

I know how to recall and narrate the merry hours

I remember the day we first met at the theater

I was a wretched and penniless traveler

yet you showed me affection, because of

an unaccompanied aria composed of meaningless vowels

You kept me company by the hotel bedside lamp, inquiring about

the story in the song. I told you the romantic tale

behind “The Traveler’s Autumn Rue,” about

Miu Lianxian, how his memory of songstress Mai Qiujuan

left him remorseful on his journey, turned days into years

writing poems, lost in reminiscence, looking for outlets for his sorrow

 

After hearing my story, you sighed and said

“Your story was really us, how memory

breeds music and images for poetry to recite

how you, a poet, courted me, singing

similar yet different themes

with subtly varied postures and tones; I

was a songbird whose mission

was to sing, but before poetry, a more

melodious songbird

I choose silence in response to voices”

You said my words were pearls, creating

pricelessness out of nothing. I knew you not only saw my talent but

felt no contempt for poverty. My only possession: fabrication

 

Oh, loveliest of lovers, your attentive listening is

itself singing. I write because you are here

You are not a songbird; you are every singing

and non-singing bird: robin, bluebird, red falcon

sandpiper, snow-owl, swift…

You are music incarnate

existing prior to poetry. Attracting poetry, accepting poetry

you are the scaffolding for words gone lost

my journey’s lodging house, and in the aquarium of your screen

my shining silver-scaled swimming choir and chanting team

 

Note:

“Wooden fish ballad” is a form of oral literature popular in Guangdong (Canton Province), China.
The wooden fish is a wood percussion instrument used to keep rhythm while chanting or singing.
“The Traveler’s Autumn Rue” is one of the most famous in the repertoire of wooden fish ballads.
 “
I know how to recall the merry hours” is a translation of a line from Baudelaire’s poem “Le balcon.”


*


這是我客居此地第七個秋天

涼風有信,秋颱無情

思念你的情緒,好比那被水淹的

捷運系統,有車難發

寸步難行

我擱淺在比這個城市積水更深的

對往事的追憶裡

想像你睇斜陽照住你窗前一對凱蒂貓

我獨依電腦桌思悄然

耳畔聽得剛剛設定的手機新款鈴聲

鶯鶯響起,又只見電視走馬燈打出

機場封閉,陸空交通全斷字樣

觸更添愁,惱怒懷人

 

舊約難渝。我存藏的是一本沒有封面

沒有內文的聖經,如千百轉的轆轤

負載前夜夢的遺樓的漏水

點滴在心頭

都濕了,這一頁頁魚水交歡的經書

詩與音樂,我們神聖的游泳池

 

我的銀鱗閃閃的歌泳隊

一列列,自電子木魚敲出

穿過積水的城市,穿過皺如海綿的

月色,游到你的螢幕

 

我知道怎樣追敘歡樂的時辰

想當日,劇院初見

我窮途作客囊如洗

偏你把多情向著我,因一首

虛詞母音,無伴奏的詠嘆調

你含情相伴對住逆旅床頭燈,細問

曲中何故事。我把《客途秋恨》

這段風流講過你聞,講到那

繆蓮仙,為憶歌女麥氏秋娟

如何在客途抱恨,度日如年

寫詩,憶舊,遣悲懷

 

你聞聽我言多嘆息,說:「

你詠敘的恰如我們。記憶如何

滋生音樂,形象,讓詩吟詠

寫詩的你如何向我求愛,歌唱

以雷同又不同的主題

以細微變化的姿勢,聲調;我

本來也是一隻鳴禽,我的任務

即歌唱,但在詩,另一隻

更音樂的鳴禽前

我選擇無聲對有聲」

你說我珠璣滿腹,無中生有

原無價。我知你憐才情重,更不

嫌貧。我所有的只是杜撰

 

啊,情人中的情人,你的聆聽即是

歌唱。我書寫,因為你的存在

你不是一隻鳴禽,你是所有歌唱

與不歌唱的鳥︰知更,藍山雀,紅隼

磯鷸,雪鶚,雨燕……

你是絕對的音樂

先詩而存在。吸引詩,接納詩

迷路的語字的鷹架

我客途的寄寓。在你螢幕的水缸

我的銀鱗閃閃的游泳隊,歌詠隊

 

註:

木魚書,流行於廣東,以木魚擊節的說唱文學。其中「南音」一類,所用樂器以揚琴為主,另有琵琶、箏、二胡、三弦等,最出名者如《客途秋恨》。
參閱邱坤良主編《中國傳統戲曲音樂》
1981,遠流出版公司)。「我知道怎樣追敘歡樂的時辰」,波特萊爾〈陽台〉(“Le balcon”)詩句。

 

 (2001)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from New Poems 

 

 

 

 

18. Postcards for Messiaen

給梅湘的明信片
 

Hear the song "Postcards for Messiaen" (sung in Chinese) composed by Lu Yen (盧炎, 1930-2008) 

 



1

We are all hanging
Tears
Stars
Rainbows
Birds

 

Over the abyss of time
singing
singing

 

A garden of sorrow in the air


2
We run on a terrestrial globe
I am in ancient Asia
you are in distant Europe
Someone revolves the earth
we stumble, falling together into
the melancholy ocean


3
The suffered but serene ocean

 

Breathe
Breathe
Breathe

 

Love

 

Note:
These poems are written according to some of the music I have heard recently, especially that of Messiaen (1908-1
992),
Nono (1924-1990), Webern (1883-1945), and Takemitsu (1930-1995). Takemitsu said, 
"The joy of music, ultimately, seems connected to
sadness. The sadness is that of existence. The more you are filled with the pure happiness of music-making, the deeper the sadness is."


*

 

1

我們都是懸掛著的

 

星星

彩虹

 

在時間的深淵之上

歌唱

歌唱

 

憂愁的空中花園

 

2

我們在地球儀上奔跑

我在古老的亞細亞

你在遙遠的歐羅巴

有人轉動地球

我們失足,一起掉入

憂鬱的大海

 

3

苦惱而清澄的海

 

呼吸

呼吸

呼吸

 

 

註:

這些詩根據的是我最近聽的一些音樂,特別是梅湘 (1908-1992),諾諾 (1924-1990),魏本 (1883-1945) 與武滿徹 (1930-1995) 的。
武滿徹說:「音樂的喜悅,基本上,似乎與哀愁分不開。那哀愁是生存的哀愁。越是感受音樂創作之純粹喜悅的人,越能深體這哀愁。」

 

 (1990)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from Traveling in the Family 
陳黎詩集
《家庭之旅》

 

 

 

 

 

19. Autocracy

獨裁

 

They are lawmen tampering with grammar at will

 

Singular yet accustomed to the plural form

Objects presuming to be subjects

 

Hungry for the future tense when young

Indulging in the past tense when old

 

No need for translation

Resisting all changes

 

Fixed sentence patterns

Fixed sentence patterns

Fixed sentence patterns

 

Only one transitive verb: suppress


*

他們是任意竄改文法的執法者

 

單數而慣用複數形式

受詞而躍居主位

 

年輕的時候嚮往未來式

年老的時候迷戀過去式

 

無需翻譯

拒絕變化

 

固定句型

固定句型

固定句型

 

唯一的及物動詞:鎮壓

 

 (1989)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from Rainstorm  畢費.jpg (2343 bytes)
陳黎詩集
《 暴雨》


 

 

 

 

 

20. The Ropewalker

走索者
 

Now what I sustain is, floating in the air, your laughter
your laughter, through the obscure quivering net
What if a ball larger than a roof should be thrown over?
Would it drive you into sudden melancholy?
A ball like the earth, pouring onto your face the unfastened
islands and lakes (just like a wheelbarrow with a loose screw)
Those black and blue bruises are the collisions with mountains
the metaphysical mountain ranges harder than iron wheels
the metaphysical burdens, anxiety, metaphysical aestheticism...
And the so-called aestheticism, to me, who tremble in the air
is perhaps only a restraint from a sneeze, an itch, with
the head still up

 

What runs over you at the same time is the joke system of
all continents and subcontinents, interwoven in your body like tributaries
a joke not very funny: black humor, white terror
red blood. Red, because you once blushed with your heart fluttering
for the beloved girl (of course you can't forget the hatred and bright red blood
aroused by jealousy and fury...) But you're simply a ropewalker
walking on the earth, yet discontented with only being a ropewalker
walking on the earth

 

Now what I sustain are the subjects left behind by the
departed circus: time, love, death, loneliness, belief
dreams. Will you thus unpack the parcel before a houseful of
silent audience? The moment of sudden solemnity after roaring laughter
You simply pull out, wipe, rearrange the earth's internal organs
those spare parts that make the world move, sunshine leap
the male and the female animals reach their orgasms...
They don't even know why you stay there
stay there (restrain from sneezing and itching)
a wingless butterfly turning a somersault where it is

 

So you tremble in the air, cautiously constructing
a garden of jokes on the dangling rope
cautiously walking across the earth, propping up
the floating life
with a slanting bamboo cane
with a fictitious pen

 

*

Hear Hao Jia-xin reading Chen Li's poem "The Ropewalker" in Chinese


 

 

如今我接續的是,掉在空中,你們的笑聲
你們的笑聲。透過隱隱顫抖的網
如果丟過來的是一個比屋頂還大的球呢?
那會使你們突然憂鬱起來嗎?
一個像地球一樣的球,把沒有栓緊的島嶼,湖泊
(像鬆了螺絲釘的獨輪車)傾倒在你的臉上

那些紫黑的瘀傷是與山脈的碰撞
比鐵輪還堅硬的形而上的山脈
形而上的負擔,焦慮,形而上的美感
……
而所謂美感,對於在空中顫抖的我
也許只是忍住噴嚏,忍住癢,繼續
把頭仰起來

同時輾過來的是所有大陸與次大陸的
笑話系統,河流般交織於你的體內
不大好笑的笑話:黑色幽默,白色恐怖
紅色的血液。紅色,因為你曾經為所愛的女子
臉紅心跳過(你自然更無法忘記因為嫉妒
因為憤怒,因為愛所引起的恨,引發的
鮮紅的血液
……)而你只是一個走索者
一個行走於地球,又不甘心只是行走於地球的
走索者

如今我接續的是離去的馬戲團留下的
主題:時間,愛情,死亡,孤獨,信仰
夢。你就這樣把包裹攤開在滿屋子靜默的
觀眾前面嗎?哄堂大笑後突然嚴肅的時刻
你只是把地球的內臟掏出來,擦拭,重組
那些讓世界移動,讓陽光跳躍,讓雌性與
雄性動物達到高潮的零件
……
他們甚至不知道你為什麼停在那裡
停在那裡(忍住噴嚏,忍住癢)
一隻沒有羽翼,原地翻筋斗的蝴蝶

所以你在空中顫抖。戰戰兢兢地在
懸空的繩索上構築玩笑的花園
戰戰兢兢地走過地球,撐起
浮生
以一支傾斜的竹竿
以一支虛構的筆


 (1995)

Translated by Chang Fen-ling

—— from The Edge of the Island 
陳黎詩集
《島嶼邊緣》


 

 


 Selected Poems of Chen Li  

In Front of the Temple     Animal Lullaby     Rainstorm
Traveling in the Family     Microcosmos     The Edge of the Island
The Cat at the Mirror     New Poems     Microcosmos II 

  Introduction to Chen Li's Poetry  
  by  Chang Fen-ling