Mother’s Distress Day (II)
World of Paradox
O world of happiness!
First time we met,
you welcomed me with a smile;
I responded with wailing.
Heaven disturbed. Earth rocked.
O world of sorrow!
Our final parting,
I sent you off with wailing;
you responded without words.
Heaven. Earth. Closed.
O world of paradox!
Regardless of first encounter or parting forever,
I always wailed at you.
Wailing for the world begins with a smile of yours,
but bliss ends with your eyes closed.
There was a poetry reading and piano performance to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend. Inspired and deeply moved by the poet Professor Yu’s three poems on Mother’s Distress Day, the pianist Christiana Chiu-shih Lin composed and performed a beautiful piano piece.
Professor Yu is my favorite Taiwanese poet. Though he taught English and American literature, his poems are all in Chinese. Just want to share the touching poem with this translation (that may not fully convey the poet’s original Chinese words).
For Mother’s Distress Day I:This Life Time.
People celebrate births but mourn deaths. See Chuang Tzu’s quotes on life and death.
“What I call no emotions is
not letting the passion of likes and dislikes
to harm ourselves.”
Dissolve the Unsettled Heart
Socialize with flower and grass to know innocence,
wed empty void, the lifetime mate.
Seek mountains and rivers
to dissolve the unsettled heart
that dwells in wind, rain and self in emotion.
Guard the Heart
Express your feelings,
guard your heart,
unaffected by any matter.
law of nature is boundless.
Who can let go
opportunities just for me?
As if existing yet nonexistent,
as if unreal yet apparent.
(national artist of Austria, also taught Chinese philosophy in Germany)
Wang Shu is a dear friend who inspired me to embark on the long journey to study Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu and then Chuang Tzu. Hope his art and poetry translated in English from Chinese will facilitate your appreciation for Chuang Tzu’s teachings.His poems are all in Chinese, but some in German.