Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zheng Danyi: Another Autumn

  Another Autumn
       by Zheng Danyi  tr. Fan Jinghua
I am picturing you in the last autumn
A lone goose crossing oceans to an even distant autumn

The mountains over there are golden
When one leaf falls, it will bring two more
I have also pictured
How you wore your clothes. When one wore out
You replaced with another

I have sensed your coming
For the wind on that side has also cooled down this side
Like my hands
Which held at different times stones and fire

Like leaves falling down from above your head
Frail in the wind
Circling and whirling defiantly against the world

Like this bowl we are sharing now
You may not know, my star
Intermixed with other stars
Also illuminates your way to a distant chapter

Alas, one year resembles another year
On day adds to another day
Fate is but a parcel, wrapped up
To be unwrapped! And you
Are simply a treasure inside
You, a parcel of mystery, and I try to….

孤雁过重阳 飞往更远的秋天

一片落叶 带来两片
去秋的衣裳 一件旧了



就像现在 我们分享的这支碗
也照见了你 奔赴遥远的篇章

唉 一年相似于一年
一天 又添进另一天
命运只是个包裹 装好
又拆散! 而你
包着个谜 让我猜……

  There is a kind of unique and unimitatable lyricism in Zheng Danyi’s poetry, which is both warm and melancholic. He writes with a mature style almost at the beginning of his writing career and it appears to me that there are very few who could write in such a style and voice. It can be said that he has never extricated himself from the mesmerizing effects of a rather sustained autumnal triste in Chinese tradition. His poetry almost always reminds of pieces in minor such as Tchaikovsky’s Chanson Triste, delightful to the ears, exquisite to the eyes and lingering to the taste. Or, if poetry is a better comparison, Constantine Cavafy comes to mind, whose elegiac, sensual and classical poems echoes in the hearts. Zheng is essential a romantic classist in contemporary poets, perhaps a last one. One interesting note. Zheng is a Sichuan native, and it seems that he finds Sichuan dialect especially effective to render his voice, and every time he gives a reading, he would read in his dialect, at least one poem, usually “Dedication” the titular piece of the subsection “Wings of Summer” or “This Poem is for You” the last piece from his most popular collection Wings of Summer.

 Zheng (right) and his translator Luo (left) in a reading on August 28, 2005


About the poet:
  ZHENG Danyi (b. 1963) graduated from Southwest China Normal University in Chongqing in 1983 where he led a poetry society. He published poems when in university and self-published some chapbooks. His major collection of poetry Wings of Summer was published bilingual (translated into English by LUO Hui) in 2003 after he settled in Hong Kong.

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