Perhaps

A Poem By julesyim // 7/2/2006

This is my translation of a poem Wen Yiduo wrote as an elegy to his young daughter Wen Liying, who died in 1926. When I first translated it in the beginning of this year as one of the poems I hope to translate and compile into a book, I never could imagine how poignant it would be 6 months later.

Perhaps - Wen Yiduo

也許你真是哭得太累,
也許,也許你該睡一睡,
那麼叫夜鷹不要咳嗽,
蛙不要號,蝙蝠不要飛。

不許陽光撥你的眼廉,
不許清風刷上你的眉,
無論誰都不能驚醒你,

Perhaps you have wept yourself to exhaustion
Perhaps, perhaps you ought to take your rest
If so, don't let the owls cough
Nor the frogs croak
Nor the bats fly

Let not the sunlight draw the curtain of your eyes
Let not the cooling breeze caress your eyebrows
No one, but no one could startle you awake
For an umbrella of dark pines your shelter I have made

Perhaps, you hear the earthworms digging through mud
Or the root hairs of small grasses sipping up water
Perhaps, the music you hear now
Is sweeter than the curses and oaths of humanity

Ah, close your eyelids, shut them tight
I will let you sleep, I will let you sleep
With yellow earth I will lightly cover you
And the ashes of paper money, slowly fly.

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