“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Some poetry by Gu Cheng

By Cindy M. Carter, published

Just ran across some poems in the archives, early translations I thought I'd lost. The first three are from Gu Cheng's 2005 (posthumous) collection《走了一万一千里路》. The other poems are from a 1995 edition of Gu Cheng's collected works《顾城诗全编》- also posthumous. Pretty free-wheeling translations, but there are some good moments. I think there's something here everyone can joyfully disagree on...

Truisms

The vase says: I’m worth a thousand hammers.
The hammer says: I’ve smashed a hundred vases.

The artisan says: I’ve made a thousand hammers.
The master says: I’ve killed a hundred artisans.

The hammer says: I've bludgeoned one master to death.
The vase says: I now contain that master’s ashes.

实话

陶瓶说,我价值一千把铁锤
铁锤说,我打碎了一百个陶瓶

匠人说, 我做了一千把铁锤
伟人说,我杀了一百个匠人

铁锤说,我还打死了一个伟人
陶瓶说, 我现在就装着那个伟人的骨灰

《走了一万一千里路》, p. 303

Blind Men Crossing the Sea

The blind arrived to board the sea.
The moon was full, as was the breeze.
As it buffeted their faces, the blind men said:
"So, this is what they call the sea."

Then the wind stopped, and the boat
drifted toward an even fuller sea.
The sails were still, for lack of a breeze.
Dismayed, the blind men asked:
"What happened to the sea?"

••盲人渡海••

盲人到海上去
月亮很大
风也很大
他们的脸晃得厉害
他们说这就是海了

风停了
船漂向更大的洋面
他们的帆一动不动
他们的脸面面相觑
他们说: 海没有了

一九八九年十一月
《走了一万一千里路》p. 302

4 Sounds

Zzzt--- The winged ant in flight.
Zzzt? The winged ant stuck in a spider's web.
Zzzt! The winged ant blaming his wings:

"If not for you, I wouldn't be here."

The winged ant's last words:

Zzzzzzzzzzz...

四声

..... 飞蚂蚁在嚷

-------飞蚂蚁粘在蜘蛛网上

矣。 飞蚂蚁在怪它的翅膀




。没有你我怎么会来这个地方。

一九九二年

《走了一万一千里路》, p. 311

假如 (If By Chance)

If by chance the bell does toll,
then please
bury me with feathers—
so that in the dead of night,
I might weave
an enormous pair of wings,
and over my beloved country
go on circling.

假如

(p. 319 of 顾城诗全编)

假如钟声响了,
就请用羽毛,
把我安葬.
我将在冥夜中,
编织一对,
巨大的翅膀,
在我眷恋的祖国上空,
继续飞翔.

我们相信 (We believed)

Back then,
we liked to sit on window sills
and listen to the sound of road construction.

It was summer; there was no wind.
Bitumen as warm as night
could glue the stars together.

Bang-bang...
Bang-bang...

We believed
this road to be devoid of dust,
devoid of any dirty footprints.

We believed
all joyous dreams would come to pass
here on their way to dawn.

We believed
that on this road, we'd recognize
the children of the sun in passing.

We believed
this road's conceit
to be our birthright.

We believed
that all the songs we could imagine
we’d someday have the chance to sing.

Bang-bang...
Bang-bang...

Oh, back then, once upon a time,
we sat upon the window sills
and listened to the sound of road construction.

我们相信
(p. 402-403 of 顾城诗全编)

那时
我们喜欢坐在窗台上
听那筑路的声音

夏天, 没有风
像夜一样温热的柏油
粘住了所有星星
砰砰, 砰砰....

我们相信
这是一条没有灰尘的路
也没有肮脏的脚印

我们相信
所有愉快的梦都能通过
走向黎明

我们相信
在这条路上, 我们
将和太阳的孩子相认

我们相信
这条路的骄傲
就是我们的一生

我们相信
把所有能够想起的歌曲
都唱给它听...

砰砰, 砰砰....

,那时,曾经
我们坐在窗台上
听那筑路的声音

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