BIRDS OF PASSAGE

Happy year of the snake! How are you doing? I have just finished translating an essay on bonsais in jail. From Chinese into German. Spring in a Prison Cell, by Shi Mingde (Shih Ming-te) 施明德, written in August 1989. He was Taiwan’s Liu Xiaobo. Released in the early 1990s, after 25 years in jail. Nearly executed in 1980 after organizing the Formosa protests. Arrested again in 1997, campaigning for direct presidential elections. Organized protests against corruption in 2006.
His older brother Shi Mingzheng died in a hunger strike in August 1988.

If you feel like it, please tell me how you like the following poem. Or the translation. Shorter words are easier to fit in a rhythm.

Have a good year!

Martin

 

Shi Mingzheng (1982)

BIRDS OF PASSAGE

Yes, we are September birds, arriving
on this western pacific island, panting;
marveling at the island’s beauty;
riding the breeze, changing into the foam, soaring over Green Island’s blue skies

We have wings to adore.
We don’t need passports or border controls.
We don’t have professions or housing,
picking grain anywhere, sleeping where we can rest.

We don’t have jails, no informing and framing,
no scaffolds or labor camps, no exploitation.
We eat what we find, at most we have children exploiting their parents.
We don’t have assassinations.

And so we don’t have police and informers.
We don’t have thugs performing as agents.
We have the freedom you people are craving, but if you catch us
We end up on sticks for your peace-loving teeth.

Tr. MW, Feb. 2013

施明正 (1982)

候鳥

是的,我們是九月的候鳥到達
西太平洋的孤島,我們喘息
我們羨慕島嶼的美麗風光
我們駕著和風,化成浪花,在綠島的藍空翻騰

我們長著令人羨慕的翅膀
我們不必護照,我們隨時翻騰人造的國境
我們沒有職業,沒有房屋
可是到處是糧,隨地是家

我們沒有牢獄,沒有告密、誣告
沒有死刑、勞役、剝削
我們自找自吃,頂多只在兒時剝削過雙親的口糧
當然,我們也沒有暗殺

因此我們也就沒有線民與警察
更沒有冒充特務的流氓
我們雖有人類羨慕的自由,可是佈著陷阱
把我們考成一串鳥仔疤的,竟是高呼自由與和平的人

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2条回应 to “BIRDS OF PASSAGE”

  1. Mo Yan 莫言 and Liao Yiwu 廖亦武 | 中国大好き Says:

    […] I have translated essays and poems by Shi Mingde (Shih Ming-te) 施明德 and his brother Shi Ming-zheng 施明正, Li Khin-huann 李勤岸, Song Tik-lai 宋澤萊, Zhan Che 詹澈 and Yi Sha 伊沙. All of it has […]

  2. Reading for Li Bifeng | 中国大好き Says:

    […] by Li Bifeng, the reading for Li Bifeng in Vienna will include texts by Li Khin-huann (Taiwan), Shih Ming-te and Shih Ming-cheng (Taiwan), famous fiction writer Liu Zhenyun (Henan, Beijing), the female migrant worker poet Zheng […]

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