Selected Poems of Chen Li   Introduction to His Poems    Home  

 

Poems by Chen Li

 

1. A War Symphony        2. Microcosmos

3. A Lesson in Ventriloquy        4. Hualien

 


 

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."

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


 

 

 

 

 

 


         2. Microcosmos  (12 selections)

小宇宙

彭智薇 繪圖Illustrated by Peng Chih-wei

See Chen Li  reading eleven poems from Microcosmos (in Chinese)

 

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

 


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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……

 


*

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

 

 

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"Which runs faster, grass or dust?"
after a spring shower, beside a deserted railway
someone asked

 

「草和鐵袙硍]得更快?」
春雨後,廢棄的鐵道旁
有人問我

 

 

*

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

 

 

*

Sandals throughout the seasons: do you see
the free verse my two feet write, treading
upon the blackboard, upon the dust?

 

涼鞋走四季:你看到——
踏過黑板、灰塵,我的兩隻腳
寫的自由詩嗎?

 


*

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

 


*

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

 

 

*

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」

 


*

Ah man, come and

take a selfie:

                     encaged

  

人啊,來一張

存在的寫真:

              

 


* *

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

 

 

*

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

 

 

*

 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

 

 

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

Chen Li  reading six poems from Microcosmos

 

 

   Chen Li  reading in Chinese & English two poems from Microcosmos in Macau

         

 

Hear Chen Li read in Chinese five "sound poems" from Microcosmos  (mp3)

 

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……

 

3 x 3 = 4

3 x 4 = 5

3 x 5 = 15

*

一二僧嗜舞
移二山寺舞溜溪
衣二衫似無

*

嬉戲錫溪西
細細夕曦洗屣躧
嘻嘻惜稀喜

註:錫溪,溪名,位置不詳。屣,鞋。躧,舞鞋。

*

愛,或者唉?
我說愛,你說唉;我說
唉唉唉,你說愛哀唉

 

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

*

人啊,來一張

存在的寫真:

              

 

Ah man, come and

take a selfie:

                     encaged

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. A Lesson in Ventriloquy

腹語課

 

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



 

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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。

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The whole song  Music: Hong Chung-Kun / Soprano: Lee Chia-Yi

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Hualien

花蓮

 

   Sung by the band Outlet Drift

 

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

Recited by Colin Bramwell (in English)

 

 

See Chen Li  reading the poem "Hualien" in Chinese  (two versions)

 

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」。

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Hear Chen Li read "Hualien" in Chinese (mp3)