Non-Constant Way Series
ZANG Di (1964-)
Spontaneous songs and a long road, they place problems on the tabletop.
Among the wild flowers in the mountains, hawthorn and crabapple take the lead,
And they too place on the tabletop. Red azaleas unwrap
The bandages of rain. Do you still remember
The keynote you have been so eagerly looking for?
The next step is whether to open a designated channel
For loosestrife and spring-bred grass. As for the table, it takes
Its form from the heaven, but it shifts between the original and the transfigured,
And you tap it. Oh, a cushion of clouds.
The blue table looks no different, and it might well be
A bed. It can surely serve that purpose.
O, dear form, you have no wrong; the blame lies in a blink.
In an instant, still rocks take on the skin of fruits.
Trumpets fine tune rain swallows. Oh, with a sharp turn,
You enter the cage of Truth, its key placed
On the river which ants are about to cross.
O, how shiny an arch bridge, punctual as the clock hands of clematis.
[For Fan Jinghua]
The above pome is dedicated to me by the poet Zang Di. Zang Di is an eminent contemporary Chinese poet and scholar, currently teaching in Beijing University. He is recently featured in Guardian's Poem of the Week, link (though the pronunciation is wrong. The correct pronunciation of his surname should be Zang instead of Zeng).
The following poem is my reply to his poem.
Zang Di and Fan Jinghua (in red) in Boston US in Oct. 2004
We Walk the Earth as Our Feet Fall
For ZANG Di
For those that arrange themselves at their free will,
Their ways are in accordance with the primary shadows.
We can only see the ways in the order of flowers, grasses, fruits and nuts,
As they grow with the ways and paths, along the no-order of my seeing.
Their shadows are not our shadows but our keynote.
Then, running water cuts through them, and a small bridge arches it,
As we go down, like sounds, pushing rocks,
Like Atlas rolling an iron hoop, one of the fire wheels of a demigod trickster.
White clouds circle beneath the compass-like dome, anchorless, shapeless, aimless,
But self-anchored, self-shaping, self-destined, and their shadows become
A patch of darkness under our feet, forgetting they have weight.
On the bed of the myriad, we walk as our feet fall, on and on, till we enter into an instant,
In which the universe flattens out and expands, like a lacquered timber desktop
Whose veins delude us and lead us into the depth of a concept,
A conceptual flower lures the bees out of paradise.
May 19, 2009