Leaf Contact 連葉

該內容僅提供英文版。

As we mark the centenary of the literary transformation of written Chinese, we are reminded that the great vehicle for cultural expression in traditional China, poetry, has undergone one hundred years of experimentation, much of it stilted and risible. When poets employ the vernacular successfully, however, the results move and inspire.

The following poem by P.K. Leung (Leung Ping-kwan 梁秉鈞; pen name Yasi 也斯), translated by Kwok Kwan Men and Lo Kwai Cheung with John Minford, is the first in the cycle Lotus Leaves: Seven Poems 蓮葉七題. ‘Lotus Leaves’ originally appeared in translation in Renditions Nos. 29/30 (Spring & Autumn 1988): 210-221.

My thanks to Lois Conner for selecting work to accompany this poem (the lotus is a leitmotif of her art), and to John Minford for permission to reprint this translation. I have wanted to see Lois and P.K.’s work together ever since Lois introduced me to her obsession with the lotus, in different seasons and moods.

— Geremie R. Barmé, Editor, China Heritage


Peking University. Photograph by Lois Conner.

Leaf Contact

By chance we come to this lotus-field
Walking an old plank into the thick of the leaves
Silence, rubbing silence utters sound
This is a wonder, green
Answering green, an encounter in this morning of a world
There the wind blows open the closed faces
Here it sets in motion my cusped leaf-edge
We shall make contact
And begin clumsy explanations
The leaf-veins which language can illuminate
Are the only world we have
The fresh dews of morning which gradually grow round
Make me still, my silence
Touches another leaf, each bearing alike
The weight of an insect at rest
A chance encounter in this world, side by side
With no intentional prosody
We utter the same sound, then drift apart
Rather than explore each other in the wind,
Raise our heads naturally, meaning surfaces gradually
The frosted snow on the leaves still weighs upon me
Growing from the same shallow, narrow water
We strive to stand erect on a hollow green stem
Extending toward a more genuine solid space
I know we cannot depart from this world and its
Language, but neither would we follow it
When we are silent, there will still be noise
Each abiding the seasons’ dust
Listening attentively, and as we unfurl
Sensing the colours of distant waters

Summer 1983

連葉

偶然來到這蓮田
沿一塊舊木板走入葉叢
靜默摩擦靜默發現出聲音
這是奇妙的, 綠色
回答綠色, 閉合的臉
牽動我這兒捲曲的蓮緣
我們將會接觸
開始笨拙地解釋
葉上言語所能照明的脈絡
是我們僅有的世界
早晨逐漸渾圓的新露
令我靜止, 我的沈默
又感染另一塊葉, 同樣承擔
一隻昆蟲棲停的重量
偶然相遇在這世界並排可卻
我們發出同樣的聲音又失去彼此
在風中互相試探還不如
自然探首, 意義會逐漸浮現的
叢叢葉上的霜雪仍然令我沉重
長自同樣淺窄的水中
努力直立以一枝中空的緣梗
伸向一個更真實的空間
我知我們不能離開這世界的
言語,  但也不是要附和它
當我們沉默, 那裏仍充滿聲音
各自忍耐季節的灰塵
一面傾聽, 舒開的時候
可以感知遠方水的顏色

1983 夏天


West Lake, Hangzhou. Photograph by Lois Conner.