Poems by Sheng Xing (1978-)

a reckless harum-scarum 

a scary ghost
who couldn't stand the loneliness of the cemetery any longer
showed up on the streets in broad daylight

his hair dyed blond
the legs of his trousers rolled up
humming funereal tunes

he approached a young woman, a stranger
and asked her the way to a place that never existed
when the woman shook her head
he pulled a spooky face and blended back into the human crowd

but he soon found the heat of the sunlight impossible to bear
and collapsed in a heap on a main road

he was carried to the hospital
delivered to the mortuary
and then thrown into a furnace in the crematorium

in the end, he was reduced to a pile of ashes
and from that moment was gone forever
he vanished from the human world
and there was no longer a place for him in the cemetery, either

this is what became of a desperate harum-scarum
this is the story of a reckless ghost getting his just desserts 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

spring is here, but nothing's any better 

spring is here
but nothing's any better

the man beyond cure cannot change
the fact that he will die
the unbeautiful woman
is another year older
now that's what I'd call "adding insult to injury"

someone who waited and waited
finally went crazy
unable to stand time's endlessness
someone who lived for lust
wound up hopelessly sick
all because of the remorseless agitation

to someone who's weighed down with depression
jokes are a complete waste of time
and to an idiot
earnest advice is a complete waste of time

when someone well down the road to disaster
comes to a precipice
he throws himself over
without the slightest hesitation 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

the winter-built house 

the winter-built house
the workmen wearing padding jackets
the frost-covered rocks
the snow-covered timber
and the lake water you have to smash a layer of ice to get to

later, black smoke rises slowly from the chimney on the roof
women are visible through the cloudy window panes
but the walls stay ice-cold

when scorching summer arrives
you needn't worry that the house will melt like ice-cream
beneath the sun's burning rays
at this time
the workmen will be napping in shade of the trees
the rocks will be on a distant hill
the timber will buried underneath green leaves
the lake water will be suffused with ripples
there is a deep lovingness between all these things
and the hotter the summer sun
(or the colder the winter)
the tighter they embrace 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

could I get to love a rat? 

could I get to love a rat?
love its small beady eyes?
love its filthy fur?
love its fine tiny toes?
love the squeak it makes when it's hurt?
love its nauseous breath?
love its gloomy silhouette?

if we fell in love
we would have to shoulder slander, rumours, vilification
the endless sneering

and if it died in its hole
I too would lie there breathing my last:
the only person in the whole world who ever loved it 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

one day 

I am walking down a road that cannot erupt with lava
towards a morning sun that cannot fall from the sky
I run into an ugly-looking woman I cannot fall in love with
in her hand she is carrying a dead fish that cannot be brought back to life
she uses filthy language that cannot be beautiful
at this moment I cannot grow a pair of wings and fly up into the clouds in the sky
I go home to a house that cannot collapse
and run into my father whom I cannot get along with
at this moment, I'm too big
I cannot turn myself into a rat
and quietly creep into my hole in some corner
tonight I lie down on my bed that cannot turn into the open sea
at this moment I cannot die
but I have a dream:
the sun falls to the earth
lava erupts from the ground
I fly up into the sky
kissing the sweet lips of a woman
the fish she carries in her hand is singing hymns
my father kneels down beside a ruin
and says, pointing at the sky
"what a great man he is"
next morning I wake from my dream
I cannot believe that it was real 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

regret and convince 

fall in love with a stone and not regret it
fall in love with a she-devil and not regret it
jump into a bottomless pit and not regret it
climb aboard a pirate ship and not regret it
swallow deadly pesticide and not regret it
commit a terrible crime and not regret it
make the most outrageous boast and not regret it
convince the ocean to turn to ice
convince an iceberg to melt
convince a bat to turn over a new leaf
convince a promiscuous woman to become a nun
convince a restless child to think things over carefully
convince a stubborn mule or a weird old man
convince god or a tiny solid ant
convince the king of hell to kill himself
convince yourself to go to fall quietly asleep 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

I can't wait for summer any longer 

it's a shame, really
making me fall in love with you in winter
when I've stripped off your clothes
when I see you in the freezing air
your arms wrapped around your bare, shivering body
when I see your face covered in tears
you're so beautiful
you must forgive my rudeness, my impertinence
I only wanted to see what you looked like in a skirt
I can't wait for summer any longer 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

wherever there's a shop selling rails 

wherever there's a shop selling rails
there's a train that goes there
and wherever the train goes
there are people who lie across the tracks to commit suicide
at present there are some places where no one has killed themselves yet
but you just wait and see
one day someone's sure to

wherever there's a shop selling rails
we cannot stop people from wanting to lie across the track to commit suicide
and once someone lies down on the rails
we cannot stop the rumbling trains 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

fish doctor 

one by one, they die
and all can I is scoop their dead little bodies out of the water
now, my fishtank is empty:
I have no choice but to sit by the fish tank in a daze

in all these years I have loved the beautiful gestures goldfish make
but learnt nothing of their diseases
in all these years I have never come across a fish doctor
a kind-hearted fish with a large head
with a medical kit round his neck marked with a red cross
but it is only out in the faraway ocean that he heals the wounded and rescues the dying
he cannot come to my fish tank
the illness they all die of is incurable 

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

we cannot stay in the sky for even a split-second 

lift us into the air
that's no problem
but we cannot stay in the sky, supported by air
nor can we soar like birds
because we have no wings
so for this reason we cannot stay in the sky for even a split-second
we can only fall straight out of the sky
fall so that our noses are bruised and faces are swollen
never again daring to dream those bird-dreams

Translation: 2002, Simon Patton

中国诗歌库 中华诗库 中国诗典 中国诗人 中国诗坛 首页