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Poetry From the October 2011 issue: Writing from Iceland


Soul

Soul

We had a visitation from a woman who’d been dead for many years
we felt her presence but see her we could not
heard her voice instructing us to turn
the hand-crank of the projector in the room (there’s always
a room with one) and as the sprockets clicked the flywheels spun
a cone of light (it’s always a cone of light) illumed
a corner of the room where
she appeared
 
like every spirit ought to
we were so bewitched we quite forgot to ask her what the afterlife was like
all the color had been drained from her
like a black and white film

which made us
conscious of the fact that we were all in color though in the dark
and we began to fidget and fret
and mutter to ourselves
 
and then abruptly lost all recollection
at this moment we awake
a gentle rain is falling and we
become afraid our parting will
stop the rain from falling
there in the warm room
in the warmth of the warmth
of the warmth of the room we are
rarely unaware of how we waver

“Soul” © 1999 by Hsia Yü. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by Steve Bradbury. All rights reserved.

死去多年的女人回來與我們相會

我們感覺到但看她不到

聽到她的聲音指示我們

操作屋子裡的一架放映機(總

是在那裡)手搖放映機發出輪軸

滑動的聲音投出一束光(總是

一束光)圈住屋裡另一個角落

在那束光下

於是她出現

 

像一切鬼魂應該出現的樣子

我們被蠱惑忘了追問那些死後的細節

她完全褪了顏色

像一張黑白電影

 

我們這些

在黑暗中的人因為意識到自己的彩色

而侷促焦慮

而自言自語

 

而恍然失憶

對此刻的醒來說

下了一點雨就很

害怕分離

會中斷這雨

雨中溫暖的屋子裡

溫暖的溫暖的溫暖

的屋子裡

總是感到猶豫

© Hsia Yu. All rights reserved.

 




Hsia YuHsia Yu

Hsia Yü (sometimes spelled Xia Yu) is the author and designer of five volumes of groundbreaking verse, most recently Pink Noise (2007), a bilingual collection of English-language poems and computer-generated Chinese translations printed on crystal clear vinyl in pink and black ink, and a two-volume collection of her song lyrics, This Zebra/That Zebra (2011). “Soul” is from her fourth book of poetry, Salsa (1999), which is now in its eighth printing. She lives in Taipei, where she co-edits the avant-garde journal and poetry initiative Xianzai Shi [Poetry Now].

Translated from ChineseChinese by Steve BradburySteve Bradbury

Steve Bradbury lives in Taipei, Taiwan, where he edits Full Tilt: A Journal of East-Asian Poetry, Translation, and the Arts.