Friday, May 9, 2014

Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010), A Chinese Painter, & Others

By X. Z. Shao

I wrote the poems below on a speed train to Shenzhen March 11, 2014 by staring at some of Wu Guanzhong's paintings, except the first poem which was based on his picture on the front page of a heavy book of his art collection I brought with me just for the purpose. Wu is probably the most famous contemporary Chinese painter whose works are poetic and enbodiments of Chinese philosophies. To have an access to his works online, use the link at the bottom of this page.

Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010)

A Chinese painter
His hairs,
autumn stalks of rice
stand in the middle,
tumble in one side.
His eyes,
ready for all colours and shapes,
black and bright with light.
His mouth
closes with a little force
making its two corners
wrinkle with determination.
His face,
dotted with age spots,
reminds me of a tree
guarding my village
a thousand of years.
His ears,
big and thin,
almost let through light.
His head,
leaning slightly forwards,
shines with intensity
of passion and compassion,
on a picture
white and black,
against a blurred background.

Willows crooked and twisted

Willows crooked and twisted
hang about a river.
Cormorants stand on the ground under.
Their beaks point up
or comb their own hairs,
their long necks and heads
form various s-shapes
in all possible ways.
With their heavy black bodies,
they seem content
with enough fishes in their bellies.

A banyan

A banyan
with hanging beards,
branches and canopy
occupied my full views.
Houses and the sea
in bright sunny day,
viewed through
the tree curtain,
a cluster of dots red and white
lain in a blue setting
sieved through the trunks
twisted like Laocoon
struggling with the snake.  
Pomegranate fruits
Pomegranate fruits
on an obscured tree,
red and ripen as women.
One bursts open
and exposes its seeds
in a crevice.
It dawns to me
all a sudden
why Solomon’s poems
for Sheba
have such a power
to enchant and ensnare.

A cozy room
A cozy room
with Gauguin’s chair,
Van Gogh’s light,
Pre-Raphaelite table
with a book
and British bear in a mug.
Don’t read with me
by my side,
or Dante will see,
with Virgil,
new souls whirl.

A setting sun
A setting sun
dyed the clouds red
behind a mountain
cragged with rocks.
Seagulls returning
from a day’s quest
balance their wings
like a twilight’s
flock of bats.
Boats moored
and clustered
along the beach,
while fishermen
carried their catches
to their uphill village. 

A link to the website which enables you to see Wu's works:

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