TEXTS

Five Songs from Cold Mountain

Han Shan Text, translated by Bun-Ching Lam

 

I. Clouds and Waters

 

Between thousands of clouds and waters

There is a man of leisure.

During the day he roams the green mountains.

At night he sleeps below the cliffs.

Springs and autumns pass as in an instant.

Quietly he lives without the burdens of this earth,

Happily clinging to nothing,

Still as a river in autumn.

 

II. The Metaphor of Life and Death

 

To understand the metaphor of life and death

One should compare ice with water.

Water freezes to form ice.

Ice melts back into water.

What has died will become alive.

What lives will return to death.

Ice and water won't hurt each other.

Both life and death are beautiful.

 

III. When happiness comes by

 

When happiness comes by

Enjoy it.

There is no time to lose.

Even though one says one hundred years is a lifetime,

No one lasts more than thirty thousands days.

If one only lives for an instant,

Why talk and chatter about money?

The last chapter of the Book of Piety

Tells you in detail how it all will end.

 

 

IV. Body or No Body

 

Is there a body or no body?

Is there an I or not I?

This is what I seriously contemplate,

Sitting above the cliff, while time is forgotten.

Green Grass grows between my feet.

On my head falls the red dust.

I already see people of the world gathering

To offer wine and fruit by my bier.

 

V. Cold Mountain

 

Once I arrive at Cold Mountain, all my cares come to a rest.

No more idle thoughts in my heart.

At leisure I write poems on rock murals,

And flow with the current like a boat moored.

 

 

Last Love Songs

Percy Bysshe Shelley Text

 

I. To ---

When passion’s trance is overpast,

If tenderness and truth could last

Or live, whilst all wild feelings keep

Some mortal slumber, dark and deep,

I should not weep, I should not weep.

 

It was enough to feel, to see,

Thy soft eyes gazing tenderly,

And dream the rest – and burn and be

The secret food of fires unseen,

Couldst thou but be as thou hast been.

 

After the slumber of the year

The woodland violets re-appear,

All things revive in field or grove,

And sky and sea, but two, which move,

And form all others, life and love.

 

II. Remembrance

Swifter far than summer’s flight –

Swifter far than youth’s delight –

Swifter far than happy night,

  Are thou come and gone –

As the wood when leaves are shed,

As the night when sleep is fled,

As the heart when joy is dead,

I am left lone, alone.

 

The swallow summer comes again –

The owlet night resumes his reign – but the wild-swan youth is fain

To fly with thee, false as thou.

 

My heart each day desires the morrow;

Sleep itself is turned to sorrow;

Vainly would my winter borrow

Sunny leave from any bough.

 

Lilies for a bridal bed –

Roses for a matron’s head –

Violets for a maiden dead –

Pansies left my flowers be:

On the living grave I bear

Scatter them without a tear

Let no friend, however dear,

Waste one hope, one fear for me..

 

III. To ---

Music, when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory;

Odours, when sweet violets sicken,

Live within the sense the quicken;

 

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,

Are heaped for the beloved bed;

And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,

Love itself shall slumber on.

 

— 1821

 

 

Age d’Or:

Arthur Rimbaud Text

 

Quelqu'une des voix

Est elle angélique

Il s’agit de moi

Vertement s'ex-plique:

 

Ce mille questions

Qui se ramifient

N'amènent au fond

Qu'ivresse et folie

 

Reconnais ce tour

si gai si facile

C'est tout onde et flore

et c'est ta famille

 

Et puis une voix

Est elle angélique

Il s'agit de moi

Vertment s'ex-plique

 

Et chante à l'instant

En soeur des haleines

D'un ton Allemand

Mais ardent et pleine

 

Le monde est vicieux

tu dis tu t'etonnes

vis et laisse au feu

l'obscure infortune

 

Ô jolie chateau

Que ta vie est Claire

De quel age est tu nature princière

De notre grand frère

 

Je chante aussi moi

multiples soeurs voix

Pas du tout publique

De gloire pudique

environnez moi

 

Golden Age

It is one of the angelic voices,

It concerns me to explain clearly:

 

Those thousands of questions which take root

bring in the end only drunkenness and folly.

 

I recognize this turn of events,

so gay, so easy

It is all waves and flowers,

and this is your family.

 

And then an angelic voice,

It concerns me to explain clearly:

 

It sings instantly

as if a sister to breath

with a tone German

but ardent and full.

 

The world is vicious

you say, you are surprised!

Live! leave to the fire the darkness of the unlucky.

 

O Lovely castle,

How bright is your life!

To what age do you belong,

Princely nature of our great brother.

 

I sing also, myself,

multiply the voices of the sisters,

not at all in public,

surround me with modest glory

 

 

Ein Alter Tibetteppich

Else Lasker-Shüller Text

 

Deine Seele, die die meine liebet,

Ist verwirkt mit ihr im Teppichtibet.

Strahl in Strahl, verliebte Farben

Sterne,die sich himmellang umwerben.

Unsere Füsse ruhen auf der Kostbarkeit.

Maschentausendabertausend weit,

Süsser Lamasohn auf Moschuspflanzenthron,

Wie lange küsst dein mund den meinen wohl

Und Wang die Wange buntgeknüpfte Zeiten schon?


An Old Tibetan Carpet

Your soul, which loves mine,

Is woven with it together into a Tibetan carpet.

Ray after ray, in enamored colors,

Stars court each other across the heavens.

Our feet rest on treasures,

Thousands and thousands of threads knotted together.

Sweet young Lama on the throne of musk roses,

How long has your mouth been kissing mine,

cheek to cheek in colorful knitted times?

 

 

Lotosträume

Heinrich Heine Text

 

Auf Flügeln des Gesanges,

Herzliebchen, trag ich dich fort,

Fort nach den Fluren des Ganges,

Dort weiß ich den schönsten Ort.

Dort liegt ein rotblühender Garten

Im stillen Mondenschein;

Die Lotosblumen erwarten

Ihr trautes Schwesterlein.

Die Veilchen kichern und kosen,

Und schau!n nach den Sternen empor;

Heimlich erzählen die Rosen

Sich duftende Mährchen ins Ohr.

Es hüpfen herbei und lauschen

Die frommen, klugen Gazell’n;

Und in der Ferne rauschen

Die heiligen Stromes Well’n.

Dort wollen wir niedersinken

Unter dem Palmenbaum,

Und Liebe and Ruhe trinken,

Und träumen seligen Traum.

 

Lotus Dream

On wings of song,

Lovingly, I carry you forth,

Away, to the banks of the Ganges,

Where I know the most beautiful place.

 

There lies a red-blooming garden

In the still moonlight.

The lotus flowers await

Their beloved sister.

 

The violets giggle and cuddle,

And look up into the stars;

Secretly, the roses whisper in each other’s ears

Their fragrant fairy-tales.

 

The gentle, bright gazelles,

Hop around and listen;

And in the distance murmur

The waves of the holy stream.

 

There we will lie down,

Under the palm-tree,

Drink of love and peace,

And dream our blessed dream

 

 

Conversations With My Soul

Etel Adnan Text

 

Come along, my

fog, foggy

sky,

sky not disappeared,

(and fog),

because of fog horns

O angelic

figure once

beloved-

not even

dust today,

do not fear

this morning,

where I awoke

Come along

this road

gentle wind

be careful

the years

have gone

Listen, spirit,

ocean, friends

have left

for where there’s

no space,

no scratches,

a window

left alone

don't worry

my love

Fog is no

sign, no

message,

just a passing

cloud

 

Nobody is coming

this night of

obscurity

The hill is descending

into that night

as slowly

as ever

We forgot the

warning,

soft grass

underfoot,

and fear,

always fear.

 

Days move

like we do,

they're thrown away

down here

where we live

 

Sweet angels take

us by the hand

when we walk

to the beach,

the beach

mesmerizes

 

Allow me o God

in whom I don’t

believe

to finish this

line, this early evening

I return to the fog

because it is

me,

it has a magnitude

that humans lack, it covers spaces

 

How lonely

can one become,

thinner than

a dream,

as planted

as a tree

 

Blood is

no perfume,

but in some

cities it

flows freely

 

Yes, the fog

is ominous,

faithful companion, unifier of

concepts

 

Movies live

live fast, they end, then

return,

we are a

screen,

nothing else

 

A year of railroad

tracks, of earthquakes,

the will is tired

Death moves in

like a soft

wind

between

layers

layers

of dread

 

You, you  hover, hover above

my impoverished

nudity

but we can't return

to where we started

 

In a city stressed

by the light

unredeemable, A lover

weighs,

on the body,

on memory

 

The sea is not

deep enough to

contain the hour

that just went

unnoticed

 

We are undone by

beauty's effect on

the arteries

its carnivorous

essence,

its solitude

 

my soul,

nights are long when you’re

sleepless,

Forget that you

inhabit my limbs,

Try to

survive

Don't worry,

sit down, my

soul,

I'll close the

door

 

Fear me not,

I may leave you

soon,

which one of us will descend

first into

hell?

we're at a loss

 

The fog has entered

my nostrils

in this blind street

Not a single leaf

is left over my heart to

be peeled off

everything is

expendable

Devastating for the

spirit, always,

is the next wave.

The one coming from you and in front of me,

 

Let the fog in,

  The one coming from you

  and covering

my soul with your substance,

your destiny

 

Sit, sit  in front

of me

sit, we're used to seeing

through the dark

 

In the nights of

her absence

my body

was waiting,

for her soul

 

We know fog over matter,

Fog in stupefaction

stupefaction,

my body was at odds,

odds, odds,

with yours,

breaking down

 

  We can’t make up

  for lost time

  how can we?

  You’re no more.

  This thing that I am--

  dear soul—

  will decompose,

  we know,

where would you go

then?

happiness happiness came from it,

not from divinities

 

There's malady in

the air

the waters are temporarily

exalting the

world.

The coffin went

down

the alley,

death is simply the

end of meaning.

As my body thinks

painfully

what's left for you,

if not this love,

so ancient in

difficulty ,Oh why?

I want to take you,

my soul,

to the

largest rivers

 

listen - think

how fast that river was

 

the rock is granite,

heated,

cut,

gasping for

air

 

lines of cockroaches

leaving the basement

for our beds

the father holding

a burning

rod

teaching

punishment

 

The fog is

moving in with

force

 

Her body will not

return to mine

and I will not return

 

The multiplicity of

the love and the lie

has been

the knife of

my undoing,

pieces,

distributed

along the road

 

It rains on my

brain

fear has settled.

 

O my soul, am

I you?

when I'm talking to you

it's because I think you

will listen,

knowing you might not…

 

but the involvement with

you, is

fatal.

 

every window thinks of

itself as being an

opening

 

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