206.1: Ling Yu:: A Tree Planted in Summer & The One Who Speaks & Toucheng & Tail 206

From my balcony in Istanbul, I have a partial view of the Bosporus. During winter, when the trees lose their leaves, my view becomes clearer and wider. In the middle of summer, like today, this view is restricted by two trees. The nearest is a fig tree, whose now-ripening fruits I can nearly grab from the balcony. The other is a tree I haven't been able to identify, whose name I don't yet know. A few nights ago, a storm came down off the Black Sea, driving violent winds up against the hillside where I live. When I awoke the next morning, I saw that my view was clearer and wider, and I could see more of the city's Asian coast—the tallest section of the fig tree had cracked against the wind and come down, now resting on the path to the front gate.

I'm not sure if this description is meant to introduce Ling Yu's poems, whether it is mean to introduce Fiona Sze-Lorrain's translations of those poems, or whether it is meant to simply gesture toward both simultaneously. These days—days of personal loss and of being entirely subject to geopolitical forces—I cannot help but read and understand everything through my immediate lens. Where am I sitting, what am I thinking, what am I even allowed to do or think or see or say? I want to say that these beautiful, lyrical, insightful poems give me hope or a place of solitude. I do believe that they offer both of those. But I choose to be with them in a different way. I choose to rely on their happenstances, and my happenstance of being with them, "only because I happen / to pass by / that mountain". In these poems, things happen. There are sometimes but not always reasons. There are sometimes but not always consequences. A tree planted in summer can spread itself through the seasons and years. A clock can fall off the side of a valley and a conductor can say "thank you" for no apparent reason. Life is presented as a series of happenings, and the poem as a collection of those happenings not to make meaning from them but rather to enjoy the faithfulness that we can bring to their ongoing. Ling Yu
translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

種在夏天的一棵樹


我喜歡   這棵樹   我向它走近
我向完美   更完美走近   一棵樹
絕對有可能完美   黃色皮膚
黑亮眼睛   纖細四肢   春天時
睫毛一閃一閃   夏天甩著長頭髮
秋天它會彎腰   冬天雪可能
落下   蓋住它一半的靈魂
另一半甦醒   向東方探索   但不
急躁   樹   絕對有可能前進   前進
到最完美的故鄉   所有親人聚集
坐在小板凳上   品味某些事物   掉落的
某些事物   就被稱做故鄉   只是因為
掉落   例如有花瓣的裙子   例如毛毛蟲
還有你   被風托著的小小馬尾   我記住
並且費心   把它種下   這棵樹就住著
一個母親   夏天的時候   就生出一種
味道




A Tree Planted in Summer


I fancy    this tree    I approach it
approach perfection    approach more perfectly    a tree
can absolutely be perfect    yellow skin
black shiny eyes    four slender limbs    in spring
eyelashes twinkle    it swings its long hair in summer
bends over in autumn    snow may fall
in winter    covering half its soul
the other half comes to life    explores the east    but
patiently    a tree    can absolutely advance    advance
to the most perfect hometown    all kin gather
to sit on little stools    savoring things    fallen
things    will be known as hometown    only because
they’ve fallen    for instance a skirt with petals    for instance a caterpillar
and you    a little ponytail dragged by wind    I remember
and go out of my way    to plant it    in this tree lives
a mother    in summer    she gives birth
to a flavor







說話人


1

我是說話人
我來自第一世紀
我要說
茶樹
在山坡上
發亮



2

我想到你們中間——
竹子
蕨類
香蕉林

深綠和淺綠
住在一起

我想到你們中間——
我也可以
綠得像
什麼



3

十萬張
萬萬張
億萬張
金面
菩薩
住在山中

太陽露臉了——
我也是金面

只因一時
經過了
那座山



4

告訴你
故鄉是黑色的

居民穴處
和禽獸同寢

世紀之前——
水白色
和綠色
輪值

那時魔鬼
也要出現

——只因我們
總不了解
宇宙




The One Who Speaks



1

I am the one who speaks
I hail from the first century
I want to say
tea trees
are glowing
on the hill



2

I want to be among you—
bamboos
ferns
banana forest

dark and light green
living together


I want to be among you—
I too can be
green like
anything



3

a hundred thousand
a hundred million
a billion
golden Bodhisattva
faces
live in the mountain

the sun shows up—
my face is golden too

only because I happen
to pass by
that mountain



4

let me tell you
hometown is black

residents sleep with beasts
in mountain caves

before Christ—
water rotated
in white
and green

devils too
appeared then

—just that we
have never understood
the cosmos







頭城

                ——悼F

初夏的黃昏你最好
坐6點5分那班火車


龜山島的腳剛被薄霧洗過
房屋的白牆壁
把黑窗襯得更黑
黑得有點讓人心動


然後火車經過隧道
然後樹也變黑了


然後比豔藍還亮的淺藍布帘
漸漸掉落火車的窗口
最後掉在村子裏
電線桿的路燈上


那時你特別聽到
跌落山谷的一面鐘
細細叫著蟬一樣地叫
向右掠過水域騷動
龜山島淺淺的睡眠


列車長來剪票了不知為什麼
他說了謝謝又說旅途愉快
而那正是我想對你說的





Toucheng

                —Elegy for F

in an early summer dusk you’d better
take the 6:05 train

the feet of Turtle Island cleansed by mist
white walls in houses
black windows in a blacker contrast
that moves one to tears

and the train passes through a tunnel
and trees blacken

and pale blue drapes brighter than cobalt blue
slowly fall off the train windows
falling at last on the village
on streetlights of power poles

at that moment you hear
a clock fall off a valley
cry softly like a cicada
skim past water on the right stirring
the light slumber of Turtle Island

a conductor punches the tickets and not knowing why
he says thank you and bon voyage
the words I want to tell you



Toucheng is a town in Ilan County. Turtle Island (Guishan Island) is a volcanic islet and famous tourist destination. Visible from Ilan, it is approximately ten kilometers east of the coast of Toucheng.







尾巴


「我常常感覺不住在
這裏。
我的外觀有一點改變。
十年前的臉頰豐腴一些。
眼珠子也比較明亮。」


「但名字還是一樣。
還是被認出。也跟人去
看電影。定時坐火車。」


「拿鑰匙開門回家。
有人喊我。我也回應。」


「奔跑時也希望神在
旁邊幫助我。」


「被噪音觸怒且無可奈何時
知道神的力量有限。」


縱然──


「沒有人知道,一些話語被吞下
進入胃成為食糜,到了小腸
大腸。再排泄出來成了
什麼形狀。」


「沒有人知道另一群親友團
進入我的莊園,在種植,
工作,且生產花蜜。」


「沒有人知道一個夢進入
夜晚,在搬演一些我親手
撰寫的劇本。」


「沒有人知道我讀書時凝神
看向虛無──我問話時的遲疑
我回答時的隨機──」


「有時我噑叫。笑出聲來。
心臟劇烈跳動。」


「是來自不被看見的尾巴──
頭上的角,手臂裏的翅膀。」





Tail


I often feel as if I don’t quite live
here
my looks have changed slightly
plumper cheeks ten years back
brighter eyes

but my name remains unchanged
still recognizable    I go to the movies
with others    take train rides at fixed time

holding a key I open the door and go home
someone calls me    I respond

when I run I hope for God
to help me by my side

infuriated by noise and helpless
I know God’s strength is limited


even though—

no one knows some words once swallowed
become chyme in the stomach, into intestines
small and large    turn into any shape
in excretion

no one knows a group of friends and kin
enters my villa, planting
working, producing nectar

no one knows a dream enters
night, staging some plays
I write by myself

no one knows I read with rapt attention
look to nothingness—my doubt when questioning
randomness, when I reply—

sometimes I howl    laugh out loud
heart palpitating

from an invisible tail—
horns on the head, wings in arms