Two New Poems by Yu Jian, January 2018

Yu Jian photo AUG 2014

Chinese poet 于坚 Yu Jian

  • 《雄狮》

哪里是城市  人类  哪里是图书馆
它知道哪儿要奔跑  哪儿要悠游
它知道孤独  欢乐  失败与荣耀
它知道哪儿是草地  河流  沼泽 长颈鹿
它知道  君临一切   运筹帷幄
匍匐在荒野上  苍茫万物中的
一小个点  一粒沙子  一片树叶
一个穿着迷彩服的士兵  一个土著人
烧制的幽暗陶罐  空着  在时间中



  • “Lion”

It has the whole of Africa inside its head.
It knows where it can — and can’t — go.
Where the cities are. The people. And the libraries.
It knows where it must run for its life. And where less haste is best.
It knows solitude. Pleasure. Defeat and glory.

It knows where the plains are. Rivers. Swamps. Giraffes.
It knows how to be King of the World. How to think up strategies.
Slinking through wilderness. In the vast realm of creatures.

A speck. A grain of sand. A single leaf.
Soldier dressed in camouflage gear. Tribesman.
A dark clay pot fired in the flames. Empty. Waiting
in time for food.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

  • 《建造房屋》

昆明人在湖边选好基础  避开沼泽
靠着青山  挖开地面  填下石头
将大树改成木材   建造房子  安身立命
神指示他们方向   大地告诉他们图纸
这边要高  那边要矮  这边是水源
风暴在南面  落日在西边  孔雀要织布
女人好铺床  孩子们要玩   他们唱着歌锯开木料
顺着它的纹理  他们搭建柱子  垒实墙壁
打开窗户  门朝北方  台阶高于荒原
他们不停地动手  露出古铜色的骨头
他们搅拌泥浆  挑着桶走过搭板
跟着百兽劳动  就像兴奋的蜜蜂
就像年轻的大象   就像老练的豹子
他们在好日子上梁  飞扬的斗拱模仿着鸟类
永远不再飞走  这也是万物所梦想的
那些柏树  那些桉树  那些马鹿  那些老虎


  • “Building Houses”

Kunming locals have chosen sites by the lake. Avoiding swamps.
Backed onto lush green hills. The ground is dug up. And the holes are filled with rocks.
Tall trees are cut down for timber. They’re building houses. And settling down.
A God points out the way. And Earth tells them the blueprints.
Higher here. Lower there. And that’s where the water-source is.
Storms are South. The sun sets in the West. Peacocks must work at weaving their brocade.
Women make beds. Children play. Men sing as they saw.
Following the grain. They put up posts. And sturdy walls.
Make openings for windows. Doors face North. Steps climb above the wasteland.
They keep constantly busy. Lay bare bronze-coloured bones.
Mix mud-mortar. Carry buckets over planks.
Working away with the wild beasts. Like excited honey bees.
Young elephants. Experienced leopards.
When the weather’s fine men walk the rooves. The sweeping blocks and beams imitate birds,
staying, never flying. This is the dream of all things.
Cypresses. Eucalypts. Red deer. Tigers.
This is exactly what they dream of, too.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Translated by Simon Patton

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