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Ruins



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Afaa Michael Weaver




Translations of Bei Ta




Ruins

           

1 Soul of the Dead



Midnight--

no sound of cough, or sigh, or talking in sleep,

the big mountain of concrete reinforcing bars

even weighs down save somebody's life--

no one can shout. Only the soul of the dead

can crawl out of the ruins,

riding dust, starlight, and electric wave

to pass through the tunnel's billow smoke,

arrive in the pitch black before my window,

tell me news of who died in the accident

returning then and again a long distance

as he has already beat open heaven's gate.

No matter the Jade Emperor has already prepared

a feast of a dinner for him, he can also return

to his parents under the ruins

even though they are already separated

by yin and yang.

 

 

 

 

2 Fist

 

From the ruins this single hand extends,

quickly sends up a fist

like a broken crown of a head

at the same time like a banner stretched from a window

from swollen red to paleness,

perfectly moistened dust

blood that has completely flowed away

but back as before without disentangling,

already losing life

but to deep love of life

still in the hollow of the palm

like the wintry inside of a baked yam

grasping earth lightly

grasping

earth lightly.

This grip of a fist

wants to beat the earth like a drumstick,

the blue sky its direction,

beat out in a single day--

no way to retract.

 

 

 

 

3 Pupil of the Eye

 

Daytime arrives,

but there is no sun.

The night is deep

but does not meet starlight,

this pair of pupils on tiptoe with hope

to not be shut again,

but the ruins are not closed.

Their search is for those

whose eyes dare to look at theirs

to soon penetrate the ruins

and with their help

find life continuing.

 

 

 

 

4 A Child's Shoes

 

This pair fits exactly,

child's shoes in a devil's claw

inserted in the ruin's nostrils

turned into the devil's spoils of war,

that child's ankle,

a place easily injured

whether or not already bound

already thrown into every mother's bosom

or still in the shake between heaven and earth

from ruin to ruin.

Not one place

can let him come down

until he along with a mansion's final fall--

fall over,

this shoe, this child

this way already a part of the ruins

become the hostage's suffering

material evidence of a past life.

 

 

 

 

5 Practice Book

 

Pen and book,

like father and mother,

separated,

a page opened by the wind,

empty space

again, one page open.

This is the empty page.

 

 

 

 

6 Heavy Rain

 

Heavy rain takes the ruins as rich soil,

heavy rain makes concrete and reinforcing bars

rich soil,

a good help to life later,

still there is life,

Da Yu prevents floods,

yet the Yellow River still floods.

The foolish old man removed the mountain

but the mountain still towers aloft.

What, a survivor under the ruins?

Use all your strength, widen the mouth.

Shout loudly! Quick, shout loudly!

These are God's penitent tears.

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

Da Yu is a play on homonyms. It means heavy rain, and it is also the name of the reputed founder of the Xia dynasty.

The foolish old man is a reference to a Chinese proverb relating the ability of an old man to perform an impossible feat despite his neighbor's skepticism.

 

 

 

 

7 Sound of Song

 

No matter who you are,

speak a sentence to me,

no matter whether or not you can hear

let me give you a song to sing,

although we are inside the same floor,

until today

until the floor becomes ruins,

and we become good neighbors.

Sing together with me,

penetrate the ruins with the sound of our song--

penetrating the ruin's every nook,

slush drifts out to the wilderness,

like thick water fills the wheat all the way--

sing death's song,

it is of happiness--

the souls of our dead want to return by the long road,

lonely, dead on, comforting.

Ah, it is our own song.

 

 

 

8 Seed

 

Already I have no swallows to offer

to build a nest in the eaves,

but I believe it can hold a seed in its mouth.

These ruins have a crack

crammed by the dust

that has become a flower nursery on good land.

If there is a seed to drop on my body,

I will be willing to offer everything to help sprout

even though forever stranded by the ruins--

I am willing.

 

 

 

 

 

Originals of Bei Ta

 

 

 

废墟

                        北塔

1 亡灵

子夜

没有一声咳嗽、叹息或梦呓

钢筋混凝土的大山

压得连救命都喊不出

只有亡灵

能爬出废墟

乘着尘埃星光和电波

穿越烟尘滚滚的隧道

来到我漆黑的窗前

告诉我死难者的消息

然后又返回数千里外的废墟

哪怕他已经敲开了天堂的门

哪怕玉皇大帝已经为他准备好了接风宴

他也会回去

废墟下还有他的亲人

---尽管已经阴阳相隔

 

 

 

 

2 拳头

这只从废墟里猛然伸出来的手

伸出来就是拳头

像一棵草顶破了石头

像一面旗帜探出窗口

从红肿到惨白

沾满了尘埃

血都流尽了

却依然没有松开

生命已经失去

但对生命的热爱

却依然在掌心里

像寒冬里的一只烤红薯

被紧紧地握着

握着

紧紧地

这紧握的拳头

犹如鼓槌要擂向大地

这指向苍天的拳头

一旦击出

就绝不缩回

 

 

 

 

3 眸子

白天来了

却没有太阳

夜深了

却不见星光

这双企盼的眸子

再也闭不上了

但废墟关闭不了

它们的寻找

谁的眼睛敢跟它们对视

就能穿透废墟

在它们的帮助下

找到生命的延续

 

 

 

 

4 鞋子

这双在奔跑中

在魔爪夺走的鞋子

插在废墟的鼻孔

成了魔鬼的战利品

那孩子的脚踝

最容易受伤的部位

是否已经得到了包扎

已经投入母亲的怀抱

或者,依然在摇晃的天地间奔跑

从废墟到废墟

没有一个地方

能让他停下来

直到他随着最后一栋大厦

倒下

这鞋子,这孩子

就这样成了废墟的一部分

成了灾难的人质

过去的生命的物证

 

 

 

 

5 练习簿

笔和书

像父母

失散了

被风翻开一页

空白

再翻开一页

还是空白

 

 

 

 

6 大雨

大雨把废墟当成了沃土

大雨要把钢筋混凝土改造成沃土

好让生命之后

还有生命

大禹治水

而江河依然泛滥

愚公移山

而山岭依然耸立

废墟下的幸存者啊

请使劲张大嘴

喝吧,喝点吧

这是老天爷忏悔的眼泪

 

 

 

 

7 歌声

不管你是谁

跟我说句话吧

不管你是否能听见

让我给你唱首歌

虽然我们一直在同一座楼里

但直到今天

直到这楼成为废墟

我们才真正成为邻居

跟我一起唱吧

我们的歌声将穿透废墟

将充满废墟的每个角落

像雪水流满荒漠

像庄稼长满荒野

像浆水灌满麦穗

唱着歌死去

是幸福的

我们的亡灵还要走很长的路

寂寞中的最好的安慰

是我们自己的歌声啊

 

 

 

 

8 种子

我已经没有供燕子筑巢的屋檐

但我相信它会衔来种子

这废墟有缝隙

会被尘土填满

成为花圃良田

如果有幸种子掉到我身上

我愿意献出一切让它发芽

纵然永远被困在废墟里

我也心甘情愿