Saturday, May 10, 2014

In Memoriam, Two Poems

To Gu Cheng
A famous leader of a Chinese poetry movement known as “Obscure Poetry”
flourished in 1980s in China. He committed suicide in an island of New Zealand
in 1995 after the abrupt turn of tide in China in 1989. His most remembered lines
are "Night made me eyes of darkness,/ but I have to use them to find light."

Your eyes make me nervous,

so detached,
a window to the unknown,
tugging in my timid soul,
where thunders
talk with rainbows,
shapes parade with
flowers on hand.
Northern pasture
is quiet as it always;
Roaming and singing,
you must have
been there still,
figuring out a puzzle,
hands under your head,
lying, blue sky above.
Greatly disturbed,
the sunny green land
could not bring out
your smile with all its
glister and breeze.
In your wildest dream,
tigers, wolves, angels
came together,
all elements danced.
You were flying
with a vein open,
drawing in the sky
a picture full of
red, random ribbons.
       April 18, 2002

In Memoriam: Maningning Miclat

An established Pilipino woman painter and poet,
born in Beijing in 1972, committed suicide in Manila in 2000.
I am almost glad you have departed.
The rainy season is upon us, drip-dropping endlessly,
Cold and wet, damping every spark of fires.
A long dead snake hangs around the boughs of a tree,
A half alive half dry tree, where yellow flowers
Last blossomed, pleasing to eyes and disturbing souls.
You used to live in a roaring city
Where there are so many spider nets,
Where scavengers fly while people drive.
You loved various colors of bougainvilleas,
Flamboyant trees in flower and the scent of earth
Under the rain-trees after a shower of the dry season.
Built on a poppy hill, etherized by the fragrances
Your garden was dyed in tropical hues,
Scarlet, purple, yellow and deep blue.
Time and again, you returned to it.
A trouble paradise or the cave of Calypso?
I wish you were the fairy nymph returning to her oblivion.
You were a jewel on the palms that held you,
Staggering in the Forbidden City and the ruin of the Imperial Palace.
The stormy in China did not infiltrate hatred into your soil.
You painted bamboos and pine trees on Chinese rice paper,
And wrote out your love in the ancient characters for the land
Old in tales, your flesh and soul, from which you had later to tear away.
Being transplanted, you learnt to love your land of origin.
You saw your past being wrapped up in a hard nut.
The hands that reached you were forced to withdraw;
The hearts that opened to you were ordered shut.
You were alone in an island where you decorated your cave of Calypso,
The cave beyond reach of filthy trash, where eternity promised.
You are still around, making soliloquies,
And yet you are fondling the land you discarded,
Where live your parents, sister and friends enriched by the colors
you brought from the other shore where you live in tune with rhythms of the sea,
Tranquil and satisfied. There will be tidings from this land of wars, idiots and vanity.
If a warrior is stranded there, nurse him back to life, and he will not long for his Ithaca.      
                                  From evening to midnight, Dec. 13, 2005

The poem above was published on English Today, a linguistic journal run by the Cambridge University Press, page 29, English Today 86, Vol.22, No.2 (April 2006).

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