Hoy no hay sol y el gran viento desde el norte se niega cualquier idea feliz de primavera. Escuchar, en el viento frío que escucho el desgarro de todas las flores blancas de las magnolias. Estarán mañana magullado y morado.
No hay sol hoy y el gran viento desde el norte se niega cualquier feliz idea de la primavera. Escuchar, en el viento frio oigo el desgarro de toda las flores blancas de magnolias. Serán magullados y el morado mañana.]
The North Wind in Spring
There is no sun today and the big wind from the north refuses any happy idea of spring. Listen, in the cold wind I hear the tearing of all the white magnolia flowers. They will be bruised and purple tomorrow.
Over at tankawanka, Andrew Griffin wrote a response to Wang Wei’s ancient poem Deer Park. As part of the process, he created a translation and a word-for-word translation of the original piece. I couldn’t resist working from the word-for-word to do my own version set in PEI.
The steep hills are empty, No one moves in the woods.
But there are faint murmurs, Almost like human speech,
As spring sunlight draws sap From deep in the tree roots,
Then drips golden down trunks To gleam in green moss beds.
0n the north shore you can build too close to
The sea. The Gulf over here is never
Your friend; year round it shifts its weight against
The shore, rasping sand over sandstone beds
And angling sandbars to form new channels
Where water never flows as you’d expect.
It undercuts soil banks leaving pale roots
Hanging out to dry, wither in the sun.
In the summer you can hope the warm, rock
Pools might hold mussels and crabs when the tide
Goes out. You believe if you cross the spit
To its leeward side of murky, lukewarm
Water edged with drifts of drying seaweed
You can watch the terns and gulls watch you while
They squabble and fish as you skirt clay beds
To dig razor and piss clams all day long.
On the north shore you want to build higher—
On a hill well back from the sea where you
Can plant a line of scraggly fir and spruce
To break autumn winds blowing off the Gulf.
Between you and the spruce, then, another
Line, perhaps of pine, and then one of larch
To glow orange above the wild rose bushes
Swinging their hips in the October sun.
Winter sees the dry, stovelength, hardwood stacked
In cords out in the yard. Winter hears
Chickens muttering always in their shed—
Except the one simmering with onions
And summer savory in the pot. Winter
Smells of tea and a ball of yeasty dough
Rising slow in a bowl under a cloth.
Through the window the Gulf shrugs under ice.
What little I know dwindles each day. Perhaps this is why I embrace doubt And wish to revisit every magnolia, Linden, and wild rose I’ve ever known, Every slow stream teadark with tannins Where current and stones laugh in the shallows.
I know less of Iowa perhaps Than I know of anything on this earth. I have never strolled beside its creeks Listening to how your laughter learned sound.
Time gets everything backwards, doesn’t it? You are there under earth with a headstone Unbroken by wind, rain, and tectonics Into pebbles worn smoother every day.
Start with the shapes of all you have known
Scrawled upon yellowing paper;
These are studies for the ideals
Of slavery and genocide
You see preserved in bronze on squares
And on street corners waving flags
And swords and pistols and fingers
As they sit precariously
On the backs of their high horses
Rearing to trample human rights
Of all LGBTQ+ and non-whites:
Tear down those statues and set alight,
Rewrite, statutes holding you in despite:
Stand and sing. Your future grows bright.