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?

* * *

“Sheng-yu’s Lament” is included in my micro-chapbook, No Eye But The Moon’s, available via free download at Origami Poems Project.

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

  1. Thank you for these. I enjoy them. Lending modern interpretations to an ancient voices shortens the perspective gap between the before and the now. Should we be encouraged or disheartened that after so many seeming evolutions, those travails which humanize us remain constant?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Disheartening wasn’t the right word. There is a feeling, though, upon understanding how little the basic substance of the human experience has changed since the beginning. Who knows? In another thousand years, someone might translate your poems into their then-modern vernacular, marveling at similar parallels. It’s a thought. An eerie one.

        Liked by 1 person

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