Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hanxin: Lover

        by Hanxin (1968-)  tr. Fan Jinghua
Under the wide-brimmed hat, the cool
White head of a thirsty sea
Is still growing new shoots of ache

I notice that the body has been slightly relocated
I hear the palms pressing on the table, the window and the sounds of wind
And those that can do nothing about their own leaving
Make noises of friction


My Commentary:
  No thumbtack can pin the shadow of a cloud down to a wall. Hanxin feels the most gossamer, ephemeral and ethereal, and her expression purposefully avoids pinning it down. She gives it a form, to make it palpable and concrete, and yet it is only for the vision, as she does not allow it to be loaded with anything heavy and external.
  In this poem, we can safely assume a scene, in which the speaker is standing by sea or watching a person who is standing there. The wide-hammed hat is both a shelter and disguise, and in the eyes under it flows a sea of thirsty water. In this language, a woman’s passion is compared with the autumn water in the eyes, and now it is a thirsty sea, salty and bitter. The white head is both the breaker and a metaphor for old age, hence the metaphor for something lasting. Coolness also takes on double references, both the distance and the cool-headedness. Love can be passionate burning, and it can be rationally long-lasting. Here, it washes toward the shore, repeatedly, and yet this love, apparently constant, is unavailable.
  Then, the speaker turns to herself. First, she feels her body response to the distant water, and then, she hears something between herself and the things she can lay hands on. All seem to be leaving, and in their desperation, they do not leave smears or scratches, and they can only make noises by confliction, by rubbing the surface with their unsmoothness, and by resisting the relative motion. The noises are cries, heard or unheard.


No comments: