Two Poems (詩兩首) by Cao Shuying 曹疏影, translated by Andrea Lingenfelter

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Two Poems (詩兩首)
by Cao Shuying 曹疏影, translated by Andrea Lingenfelter

AN EYE FOR AN EYE

the time came and
all of the lights shot into my eye
and were extinguished

before that instant
i wanted so much

to let all this light
linger like that in our most  
cherished, most tender spots

all that we love deeply and hold  
in a protective embrace
they shoot down

all of us, the living, the breathing
they shoot down

leather boots stomp on our heads
cudgels strike our bodies

mother, disguised as us
they take bullets forged of fear
wedge them into your heart

we no longer fear anything
fear has retreated
along with the light

all that remains in our eyes
is boundless darkness
the place where I was born

the place where I took back my love
took back my freedom

please let me open wide this eye
that the darkness may never be lonely again

8 November 2019 

以眼還眼

時間到了
所有光明射進我眼球
然後熄滅

在那一秒前
我多麼想

讓所有的光明
就那樣
停留在我們所珍惜、
最柔軟的地方

凡我們深愛著的
攬在懷中守護著的
他們就射殺

凡我們生活著、呼吸著的
他們就射殺

皮靴踩在我們頭頂
棍棒打遍我們的身體

媽媽,他們扮成我們
卻把恐懼鑄成的子彈
插進你的心臟

我們如今什麼都不怕了
恐懼已隨所有的光明
一同撤退!

我的眼底
只剩無盡的黑暗
那是我出生的地方

那是我拿回我的愛、
我的自由的地方

請容我睜大這隻眼,
讓黑暗永不孤單

2019年11月8日

AUGUST

i can still walk along a daylit street
& pretend that nothing in this town has changed

i can still knock on a friend’s door
take a beer out of the icebox
& pretend we haven’t died

i can still get up in the middle of the night
to comfort a crying child and watch the stars
detained in cells of bullet holes

your kisses, your hair and
shoulders still remind me
of my deepest happiness in this material world

everything has collapsed
& in the smoke crowds of people put on masks
and disappear

the sea lets slip a hostage smile

august is here, don’t say goodbye to the city
august is here, let us stay in august forever

let me keep my fragility
in your sometimes ragged breathing

let me always give you
all the happiness i have

11 August 2019

八月

我還可以走在天亮的街上
假裝這城市什麼都沒變

我還可以去敲朋友的門
從雪櫃拿出啤酒
假裝我們沒有死去我還可以半夜起身

處理孩子夢中哭醒順便望望
扣留在彈孔裡的星星

我還可以從你的吻,
你的頭髮和肩膀上,
記起塵世最深的快樂什麼都倒塌,

人群在煙霧中蒙面,
然後失蹤,

海,露出一個人質的笑

八月了,不要和這城市說再見
八月了,讓我們永遠停留在八月

讓我留下我的脆弱
在你有時慌亂的呼吸裡讓我永遠給你
我能給出的快樂

2019年8月14日

(Picture: “Simplicity Is Not An Option”.)

Born in Harbin in 1979, Cao Shuying received her MA degree from Beijing University. She moved to Hong Kong in 2005 and now lives in Taiwan. She is the author of three poetry collections, two prose collections and a collection of fairy tales. She is a past recipient of a Hong Kong Biennial Award for Chinese Literature, a Hong Kong Chinese Literature Award, a China Times Literature Award, and an Anne-Gao Poetry Prize. Shuying was invited to join the 2017 Asian Poetry Festival and 2019 Henry Luce Foundation Chinese poetry and translation fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. Lately she has been collaborating with musicians at her poetry recitations.

Andrea Lingenfelter is a writer and translator whose published books include The Changing Room: Selected Poetry of Zhai Yongming (Northern California Book Award winner), Hon Lai Chu’s The Kite Family (NEA Translation Fellowship grantee), Li Pik-wah’s Farewell My Concubine and The Last Princess of Manchuria, and Candy and Vanishing Act by Mian Mian. Her poetry and prose translations have appeared in Manoa, Granta, Chinese Literature TodayPathlight: New Chinese Writing, Zoland Poetry AnnualWords Without Borders, Two Lines, Chicago Review, among other places. Her own work has appeared in various publications, including Strix and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Current book-length translation projects include a collection of poems by Wang Yin, Zhai Yongming’s Following Huang Gongwang Through the Fuchun Mountains, and Wang Anyi’s novel Scent of Heaven. She is a contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books and its affiliated China Channel, and is a two-time Vermont Studio Center Luce Translation Fellowship recipient (with Wang Yin [2017] and Cao Shuying [2019] respectively). Currently based in Northern California, she teaches literary translation and literature and film of the Asia Pacific at the University of San Francisco.

 

 

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