Featured Poet from the Sarah Maguire Translation Prize: Yang Lian

I am delighted to be featuring a poem from one of the shortlisted poets, now that the results have been announced. This poem is very beautiful and includes lots of tactile and sensuous language. It is wonderful to be able to see it in both languages, as I always think this adds a brilliant dimension to translated works. One can get an idea of the shape of the poem as it was first written, and sense the dance between the translator, Brian Holton, and the original poem in the process. Translating a poem is a delicate balancing act between giving us the literal and creating a sense of the poem as poem.


每一滴小小的透明的心形 都会碎 与朱丽叶无关的碎 每块粉红色大理石 插着箭 诺言湿漉漉降了半旗 

游客懒洋洋的 午餐也是 叉尖上一小片肉对称于 脚下的流水 伞像枝眉笔 扫着云 在维罗纳谁不会忧郁? 

谁没被初恋洗得醉醺醺? 雨声的叠字让成对的身体 更粘 叠韵再发明一个吻 广场上淅淅沥沥的叠句 

把你放在我对面 那儿 就是阳台 天空的铁梯子 有命运的慌乱 鱼骨听你说 来呀 发白呀 我们这只梨 

总是刚从影子里剥出的 也只把最有味儿的爱给影子 诗在我对面 比但丁高一点 某裙裾正晕眩地抽出雨丝 

某纤巧 某粉红 微露着脚趾 声音的玻璃鞋毁灭般轻盈 从一滴飞踩上另外一滴 

雨声是雨的影子 只一瞥 这场雨就得永远下 这首诗 就得像一笔债用毕生偿还 当我里面的空 渴望着加倍 

The Voice of Rain in Verona 

each drop of tiny transparent heart shapes
will shatter fragments that have nothing to do with Juliet every bit of pink marble arrow-pierced
a promise that falls dripping to half-mast 

tourists are lethargic so is lunch
a little bit of meat on the tines of a fork symmetrical with running water underfoot umbrellas like eyebrow pencils sweep the clouds who wouldn’t be melancholy in Verona? 

who hasn’t been washed clean of drunkenness by first love? reduplicated syllables of rain make paired bodies
stickier still as rhyme invents a kiss again
a pitter-patter refrain in the square 

puts you in front of me there
it’s the balcony the iron ladder of the sky preordained panic fish bones hear you say oh come oh turn pale we are a pear 

always new-peeled from shadow
and always giving the tastiest love to shadows the poem in front of me loftier than Dante some skirt dizzily pulling out the drizzling rain 

higher than the carved stone eagle’s eye
a certain delicacy a certain pink toes hardly shown glass slipper of voices elegant as destruction
tread in flight on one drop and another 

the voice of rain is rain’s shadow just one glimpse this shower must be forever falling this poem must seem a debt repaid for a lifetime
as the void in me longs to be double 

你就被丢在爱情中间 一只铜乳房任男孩们放肆地 扪弄 一个快门烧焦的 天堂的现在不进行时 

用尽了鲜艳 却还鲜艳着 雨中的但丁中学生似的痴迷 被罂粟花小小的器官逼着
爱 上 温柔的缺陷的知识 

缺陷引领一首诗 向上 那不会完美的 驱策你完美 雨声 教我聆听不在的 维罗纳 人都是开采殆尽的? 

唱过 吻过 死过 写过 在一座舞台上叠入彼此 背诵的时代 当台词包扎起 伤口 无视缺陷 哪来诗? 

爱剥出一个难忍的陌生的 我 光束下石头会呼吸 你的眼神滑过 云纹 在我肉里发苦 我已是 

几乎制成的 接到那口信 某流去流入某场音乐会 碎着血色素细细摆放的碎 没有退路 迎着你升起 

then you are left in the midst of love a bronze breast lets boys wantonly stroke a heavenly present tense charred by the camera shutters 

bright beauty used up but brightly hued still
Dante in the rain fascinated like a high school student forced by the poppy’s tiny viscera
to fall in love with knowledge of gentle flaws 

flaws guide a poem upwards
it won’t be perfect impelling you to perfection
rain’s voice teaches me to listen closely to what isn’t there in Verona has everyone else been totally exploited? 

sung kissed killed written
folded into each other on stage
an age of recitation as actors’ lines bandage wounds ignore flaws where is poetry from? 

love peels an unendurable unfamiliar me stones will breathe in rays of light 

your gaze has slid over turns bitter in my flesh 

almost manufactured
a certain outward flow in a certain concert of music shattering plainly-arranged fragments of haemoglobin no way back facing your rise 

moiré clouds I’m now 

got the message 


Comments Off on Featured Poet from the Sarah Maguire Translation Prize: Yang Lian

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments are closed.