Sheng-yu’s Lament (after Mei Yao-ch’en)


Sheng-yu’s Lament (after Mei Yao-ch’en)

First heaven took my wife,
and now, my son.
These eyes will never dry
and my heart slowly turns to ash.
Rain seeps far into the earth
like a pearl dropped into the sea.
Swim deep and you’ll see the pearl,
dig in the earth and you’ll find water.
But when people return to the source,
we know they’re gone forever.
I touch my empty chest and ask, who
is that withered ghost in the mirror?

The transliteration on reads:

Heaven already take my wife
Again again take my son
Two eyes although not dry
(Disc) heart will want die
Rain fall enter earth in
Pearl sink enter sea deep
Enter sea can seek pearl
Dig earth can see water
Only person return source below
Through the ages know self (yes)
Touch breast now ask who
Emaciated mirror in ghost

29 thoughts on “Sheng-yu’s Lament (after Mei Yao-ch’en)

  1. O at the edges, and Mei in the middle. At the heart of it, one of Sheng-yu’s great and heartbreaking poems from a very difficult period in his life–thanks for tackling this one, Robert. Hard to hold to the p’ing-tan style here, but you did it. The original images are so strong, and you enabled them to speak for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: SHOWCASE–O at the Edges | The Rattling Bones

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