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

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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 Chinese-poems.com 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
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Originally posted in December, 2014.

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

  1. I agree with Kerry. There aren’t words for this one, Robert. The intermingling of intensely personal and metaphysical (I hope this is the right word) is …. words fail.
    I’d like to ask about a couple of the transliterations. “Two eyes although not dry” is interesting. Is there a reason to specify “two eyes”? And does “although” have significance?
    And the last four lines seem to be delving into self-knowledge.
    Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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