Wednesday, March 17, 2010

World Poetry Day! 3/18

Carly Yuenger

On Thursday's show Susan Harris of Words Without Borders introduces us to a world of poetry just opening to us English speakers. As always, Words Without Borders is blazing a trail for us by bringing world literature to us in translation.

International poetry is the theme of this month's online WWB publication and is the subject of their most recent print anthology, which also came out this month. It's no coincidence that Sunday, March 21st is World Poetry Day... And, since it's also the spring equinox, here's a seasonal taste of the collection:

Yen Chen
(China, Twentieth Century)

The Plum Hint

Plums have bloomed, comrades.
Plum blossoms beckon you to come.
The productive team- captain plucks a branch,
and smiles as he walks into the village.

The snow on thousands of hills melted in one night.
A spout of water turns greener than before.
Listen! The cuckoo in the tree
also changes his new tune.

Outside the village, ponds are full,
ditches dug, and millets green.
Inside the village the cows are fat,
horses strong, and carts adorned.
Who is trying the new whip?
The snapping is so strong!

The windows are open in every house.
In every mansion the doors are wide.
Oh, spring has come!
without signs or signals in advance.

Plums have bloomed, comrades.
The plum gardens crimson like clouds.
O you thousands of full- blooming plums
are like the ten thousand hearts of our commune members.

~Translated from the Chinese by Arthur Sze

No comments: