Translation (by 劉昊恩)
《A Blossoming Tree》 By Xi Mu-Rong
Wish we could meet
during my fairest years
For this, I have prayed to the Buddha
for some five hundred years
Prayed that some fate
would bring us together
So Buddha transformed me
into a tree,
a path you should seek
Beneath the bright sunlight
I bloom cautiously
Each blossom embodying
a yearning desire
As you approach now
Please heed carefully
The trembling foliage
sings my passion so keen
And as you walk by, with
no more than a glance
Faltering behind you
softly to the ground
Are not falling petals,
but my withering heart.
Love is a tricky thing. What is love? Why do some people find it so soon and are so sure about it. Whereas, some other people encounter endless obstacles and run around in circles, and still don’t find love?
It is all about timing. Love is about meeting the right person at the right time.
If we meet the person too soon, we might be too young to appreciate love, we haven’t learnt the importance of respect and compromise yet. We have our youthful high hopes and dreams and pursuits, we think we have many years ahead of us, and someone better will come along. Right? But someone better probably wouldn’t come along.
If we meet the person too late, at an age we are ready to settle down and we have learnt respect and compromise, the person might no longer be there waiting.
This is the reason why all the romance movies believe in fate. There is always one defining moment in your life, out of all the places you could possibly be in the world, you were there at that time and you meet who you meet. You better hope it’s the right moment and the right person!
The Chinese mythology believe in reincarnation. People believe our lovers in the past life will find us in this life and we continue the love we had left of. This explains love at first sight and de ja vu – when you meet someone for the first time, have you had the feeling you have seen them before? Do you feel you ‘understand’ them and are connected to them?
“緣” means fate and destiny, and you would pray to Buddha to bring you the right person. In the mean time, we wait and hope we meet our destined lover at our peak – our fairest years, when we still have faith in love, when we still have the courage to seize love, when our eyes still speak of innocence and radiance.
In the poem, Buddha grants the poet’s wish to find her past lover. Buddha transforms her into a tree and places her alongside a path where her love will walk by in this life. As the poet’s love approaches her, the trembling leaves express her calling for him, if he were to feel her presence, he would notice the leaves sings her passion, the 500 years she has prayed for them to meet again, the years she has stood by this path waiting and hoping for this fateful encounter.
The heart-wrenching part of this poem comes when the poet’s love walks past, without hesitation, and unaware of his past love’s longing. As he walks away, behind him, the petals fall as the poet’s dreams and hopes crush and fall to the ground.
Serendipity May 16, 2010
Alexander Pushkin April 25, 2010
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1837) was a Russian author of the Romantic era. He is considered to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.
Pushkin was first educated by French and Russian tutors at home, his nurse also entertained him with traditional Russian folk tales. In 1811 he entered the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoe Selo near St. Petersburg where he studied languages and developed his first appreciation of poetry including that of Lord George Gordon Byron (whom was famous in his lifetime for his personality cult as for his poetry).
I Loved You Once (Я вас любил) 1829
I loved you; even now I may confess,
Some embers of my love their fire retain;
But do not let it cause you more distress,
I do not want to sadden you again.
Hopeless and tonguetied, yet I loved you dearly
With pangs the jealous and the timid know;
So tenderly I loved you, so sincerely,
I pray God grant another love you so.
Я вас любил: любовь еще, быть может
В душе моей угасла не совсем;
Но пусть она вас больше не тревожит;
Я не хочу печалить вас ничем.
Я вас любил безмолвно, безнадежно,
То робостью, то ревностью томим;
Я вас любил так искренно, так нежно,
Как дай вам Бог любимой быть другим.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German writer and polymath during the period of the Romanticism. He’s works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, philosophy, pantheism and science.
The most important of Goethe’s works produced before he went to Weimar were his tragedy Götz von Berlichingen (1773), and the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther(1774), which gained him enormous fame. The next work, his epic closet drama Faust, was to be completed in stages, and only published in its entirety after his death. Goethe’s poetic work served as a model for an entire movement in German poetry termed Innerlichkeit (“introversion”) and represented by, for example, Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856).THE ORIGINALNähe des GeliebtenIch denke dein, wenn mir der Sonne Schimmer
Vom Meere strahlt;
Ich denke dein, wenn sich des Mondes Flimmer
In Quellen malt.Ich sehe dich, wenn auf dem fernen Wege
Der Staub sich hebt;
In tiefer Nacht, wenn auf dem schmalen Stege
Der Wandrer bebt.Ich höre dich, wenn dort mit dumpfem Rauschen
Die Welle steigt.
Im stillen Haine geh ich oft zu lauschen,
Wenn alles schweigt.Ich bin bei dir, du seist auch noch so ferne.
Du bist mir nah!
Die Sonne sinkt, bald leuchten mir die Sterne.
O wärst du da!VARIOUS ENGLISH TRANSLATIONSNearness of the BelovedI think of you when sunlight on the ocean
Glimmers at noon;
I think of you when shimmers in the river
Mirror the moon.I see you in the rise of dust that covers
The distant ridge,
In each deep midnight where the wanderer quivers
On the high bridge,I hear you in the low and muffled rustle
Of rolling seas.
I often go to quiet groves and listen
To things at peace.I am with you. However far you are,
I know you’re near!
The setting sun sets stars up over me.
I want you here!
SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY (1814)She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
WHEN WE TWO PARTED (1808)When we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow–
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.
They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shrudder comes o’er me–
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee so well–
Long, long I shall rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.
In secret we met–
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive .
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.
George Gordon Byron, better known as Lord Byron, was a British poet and a leading figure in the Romanticism. I heart Lord Byron, not only because he is one of the greatest British poets, but also because of his fascinating character and notorious personal affairs.
“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know”, described by Lady Caroline Lamb, one of his many love affairs. I simply can’t resist such an idealized but flawed man – yes, most girls are suckers for a Byronic hero?
What defines a Byronic hero; I hear some of you ask:
Certain traits of a Byronic hero includes – a strong sense of arrogance; high level of intelligence and perception; suffering from a troubled past; sophisticated and educated; self-critical and introspective; mysterious, magnetic and charismatic; struggling with integrity; power of seduction and sexual attraction; social and sexual dominance; bipolar tendencies, or moodiness; a distaste for social institutions and norms; being an exile, an outcast, or an outlaw. They possess “dark” attributes not normally associated with a hero; disrespect of rank and privilege; has seen the world; jaded, world-weary; cynicism; self-destructive behaviour; and above all – a good heart in the end.
Sounds familiar? Yes, most male leads in romantic films or novels possess many traits of a Byronic hero, because we all know, a reformed rake makes the best husband. Who can resist men who are tall, dark and handsome; intelligent, arrogant yet tortured; mysterious and ooze sexual appeal?
Great Irish Poet – William Butlier Yeats (1865-1939) April 17, 2010
WHEN YOU ARE OLD
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Thou fairest fisher maiden,
Row thy boat to the land.
Come here and sit beside me,
Whispering, hand in hand.
Lay thy head on my bosom,
And have no fear of me ;
For carelessly thou trustest
Daily the savage sea.
My heart is like the ocean,
With storm and ebb and flow,
And many a pearl lies hidden
Within its depths below.