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?


* * *

“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 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



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

  1. Pingback: Lament (after Sheng-yu’s Lament by Mei Yao-che’en) | Frank Hudson

  2. Always enjoy your “after…” classical Chinese poems here.

    I couldn’t resist taking my own crack at this poem, even after seeing the fine job you did with it, and then of course composing and playing some music to set it in: Mei Yao-che’en meets John Cale — well sort of…

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

    So far I can’t find anything about Sheng-yu’s exact story or if it would have been familiar to Mei’s readers back then, but as with those who’ve responded above, all grief connects, and has your rendering connected with modern readers.

    Liked by 1 person

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