Monday, 5 May 2014

2 Poems by Wen Yiduo

Red Candle
                Tears will dry only when the candle burns out. — Li Shangyin

Oh, red candle!
So red a candle!
Oh, poet!
Show your heart to compare
Are they of the same color?

Oh, red candle!
Who is it that made the wax — gave you a body?
Who is it that lighted it — kindled your soul?
Why should the wax be burnt
To give out the light?
One wrong after another;
To contradict! To conflict!

Oh, red candle!
No wrong, no wrong!
Your light should be “burned” out —
This is just a natural way.

Oh, red candle!
Once made, just burn it!
Burn, just burn!
Break the dream of the world,
Boil the blood of the world —
To save their souls,
To destroy their hell!

Oh, red candle!
The time when your heart is kindled
Is the day your tears begin to run.

Oh, red candle!
The craftsman made you
Just for burning.
Why are you hurt and tearful?
Aha! I know it!
It is the remaining wind that disturbs your light,
You are reduced to tears
When your light sways!

Oh, red candle!
Just let your tears run! How can you hold them back?
Please let your essence
Ceaselessly run into the human world,
To bring about the consulate flowers
And to produce happy fruit!

Oh, red candle!
Each tear you drop, each fraction of heart you will break.
Heartbreak and tears are your result,
But creating light is your cause.

Oh, red candle!
“Ask not for gains, but for pains.”


The Desolate Water

This is a ditch of desolate water,
Where breeze can in no way ripples create.
We may just throw into it metal trash,
Or dump into it leftovers no one ate.

Perhaps some copper will turn into jade,
Or iron cans will rust into peach blooms new;
The grease will make a layer of brocade,
And the moulds steamed into some rosy hue.

Brew a ditch of green wine out of slops,
Where floating pearly white foam fully glows;
Small pearls turn into big ones with a laugh,
Yet broken by wine-stealing mosquitoes.

And then this ditch of desolate water,
Can boast of some freshness that comes along.
If frogs cannot stand that sort of silence,
Then from th’ desolate water comes a song.

This is a ditch of desolate water,
Which is by no means a resort of grace.
We may just let ugliness to till it,
And see what world it can make of this place?

About the author:
Wen Yiduo (1899—1946), originally named Wen Jiahua, was a native of Xishui County, Hubei Province. In 1922, he went to study in America. After his return to China in 1925, he taught in Wuhan University, Qingdao University, Qinghua University and the Southwest United University. In 1928, he joined Crescent Society, and edited the monthly Crescent and Carving Poems in Morning Newspaper with Xu Zhimo, Zhu Xiang and others. He was the major advocator and practitioner of the theory of “new metrical poetry”. On July 15th, 1946, he made the celebrated Speech for the Last Time at the memorial meeting of Li Gongpu, the Fighter for Democracy, held in Yunnan University, he was killed by spy in that same evening. His major works include Red Candle, The Desolate Water (collections of poems), On New Poetry by Wen Yiduo, The Spirit of Times of “The Goddess”, and The Metrics of Poetry (collections of poetic research). His Complete Works of Wen Yiduo is known to the world.
                                                             (Tr. by Yang Xu)

[The editor's note:: the above work is selected from 300 New Chinese Poems (1917-2012), a Chinese-English college reader published by Poetry Pacific Press in October 2013.]

闻一多
红烛
蜡炬成灰泪始干。
                             ——李商隐

红烛啊!
这样红的烛!
诗人啊!
吐出你的心来比比,
可是一般颜色?

红烛啊!
是谁制的蜡——给你躯体?
是谁点的火——点着灵魂?
为何更须烧蜡成灰,
然后才放光出?
一误再误;
矛盾!冲突!

红烛啊!
不误,不误!
原是要“烧”出你的光来——
这正是自然的方法。

红烛啊!
既制了,便烧着!
烧罢!烧罢!
烧破世人的梦,
烧沸世人的血——
也救出他们的灵魂
也捣破他们的监狱!

红烛啊!
你心火发光之期,
正是泪流开始之日。

红烛啊!
匠人造了你,
原是为烧的。
既已烧着,
又何苦伤心流泪?
哦!我知道了!
是残风来侵你的光芒,
你烧得不稳时,
才着急得流泪!

红烛啊!
流罢!你怎能不流呢?
请将你的脂膏,
不息地流向人间,
培出慰藉底花儿,
结成快乐的果子!

红烛啊!
你流一滴泪,灰一分心。
灰心流泪你的果,
创造光明你的因。

红烛啊!
“莫问收获,但问耕耘。”


死水

这是一沟绝望的死水,
清风吹不起半点漪沦。
不如多扔些破铜烂铁,
爽性泼你的剩菜残羹。

也许铜的要绿成翡翠,
铁罐上锈出几瓣桃花;
再让油腻织一层罗漪,
霉菌给他蒸出些云霞。

让死水酵出一沟绿酒,
飘满了珍珠似的白沫;
小珠笑一声变成大珠,
又被偷酒的花蚊咬破。

那么一沟绝望的死水,
也就夸得上几分鲜明。
如果青蛙耐不住寂寞,
又算死水叫出了歌声。

这是一沟望绝的死水,
这里断不是美的所在,
不如让给丑恶来开垦,
看他造出个什么世界。


作者简介:
闻一多(1899—1946),原名闻家骅,号友三,生于湖北浠水县。1922年赴美国留学。1925年回国后曾任教于武汉大学、青岛大学、清华大学、西南联大。1928年参加新月社,与徐志摩、朱湘等人编《新月》月刊和《晨报•诗镌》。系“新格律诗”理论的主要倡导者和实践者。1946年7月15日在云南大学举行的民主斗士李公朴追悼大会上,发表著名的《最后一次的演讲》,当晚即被特务枪杀。主要作品有:诗集《红烛》、《死水》,学术著作《闻一多论新诗》、《〈女神〉之时代精神》、《诗的格律》、《神话与诗》、《唐诗杂论》、《古典新义》、《楚辞校补》等。另有《闻一多全集》传世。


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