Note: Mary Tang, a poet I follow and who has been translating my Spring Songs series into Chinese, wrote recently about her grandmother’s life and death, and after reading those posts on her blog I was moved to write the poem below. It is posted with her permission, and directly below is her translation.
If you die on a holiday expect to be buried without ceremony
in the vacant space between an extended celebration
and getting back to business as usual but there is nothing
more usual than the dead Above her unclaimed grave
power lines have been hung where a marker might
have been a tree is growing It may only be growing
because those lines opened up the sky for it to grow
from the matter forgotten by sons but the tree’s leaves
are her prayer flags and the wind rushing the gap
are all the other sons sweeping her grave, they remember
that we were all once inanimate matter we were all
each other’s mother even unintelligent motion
generates respect and love the hum of the old world’s
roots is louder than a foot print on the moon
Your poetry, Jeff, is so loud and so soft and always so beautiful.
Thank you Ann!
Thank you for your poem in response to mine. It was therapeutic for me to translate it into Chinese. I only hope that my Chinese translation is worthy of your work.
Reblogged this on Life is But This and commented:
It is an honour to have a poet respond to one’s work with a poem.
I have now attached a voice file to this post on my blog.
That is great! I just listened to it. Quite a unique experience to hear it. I’m so glad you liked it enough to translate and read it to us.