Posts Tagged ‘生活,gedichte’


一月 22, 2013

Yi Sha
Yi Sha


when I was prepared
to enter spring
it snowed again

every snow
brings good feelings
makes me pray

dear god
for suicides tomorrow morning
let it snow once more
they need it

Tr. MW 2013/1







2008年开始翻译了几首,瑞士NZZ他们要很短的,所以最近给他们寄 《春雪》等等,从《尿床》一本台湾版选几首最短的。有《精神病患者》、《感恩的酒鬼》、《致敬》、《我想杀人》、《鸽子》等等。也许他们还会登出一两。 2008年偶尔读《雪天里的几种事物》,很喜欢,翻译了以后寄给报刊,他回答说很喜欢,不过一直未登出,太长。译文可以查看在这里

More poems by Yi Sha in German

Yi Sha became well-known in the 1990s for acerbic remarks on other poets. He has been widely criticized himself. Spring is a time of hope. The Chinese moon year begins with Spring Festival, the biggest holiday of the year. Typically for Yi Sha, this poem sounds rather mundane, laconic and depressing, dashing most expectations connected with poetry.  The line “For suicides tomorrow morning” is a little truncated in my German version that was printed in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (see image). “Für die Selbstmörder von morgen” makes a better rhythm than “Für die Selbstmörder von morgen früh”. In English I wasn’t tempted to leave out the morning. But you could say “dear god/for suicides in the morning/ let it snow once more.” In German there is something like a rhyme within the first two lines. When I was prepared/ To stride into spring/ it snowed again. Does it sound better this way in English too? You decide.
Why did I pick this particular poem? I didn’t pick it for publication. Andreas Breitenstein at NZZ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) likes to print poems whenever he can wrangle a little space in any particular day’s edition. They have to be short. I had translated another poem by Yi Sha about snowfall in 2008. Mr. Breitenstein liked it, but it was too long. So I looked through Yi Sha’s collection Niao Chuang 尿床 (Wetting the bed), published in Taiwan in 2009. It’s a very nice edition. Huang Liang 黃梁, a critic in Taiwan, has brought out two ten-volume Series of Mainland Avantgarde Poetry 大陸先鋒詩叢, in 1999 and 2009. A great resource.  I just picked some of the shortest poems in there.


三月 12, 2012

Just read a post by a guy called Doug 陀愚。It begins with a child’s drawing from preschool, and ends with the words 日本は絶対復しますので、それまで頑張りましょう。Nihon wa zettai fukushimasu no de, sore made ganbari mashoo. I don’t know if everything can or should be like it was before after such a big catastrophe. I do have great respect for the spirit Doug talks about. Last year in spring I wrote two poems that were inspired or influenced by the Japan 東北 Toohoku earthquake. I am going to put the second one first here. It was translated recently by a Taiwanese friend, and we both read it in public at a bookstore in Taipei on Febr. 26th.







shine and float in white and pink
carried forth into the day
all among the loony people
certainly the trees are blooming
growing, falling, ripening
standing, breathing in the wind

MW April 2011


weiss und rosa leuchtend schweben
fortgetragen in die tage
unter allen irren menschen
bluehen zweifellos die baeume
wachsen, fallen, reifen, stehen
atmen, oeffnen sich im wind

MW April 2011

Photo by Ronnie Niedermeyer

8 syllables in every line, five trochaic lines, first syllable of every line stressed, then the third syllable, and so on. This is how the German version works, with an additional shorter seven-syllable verse that ends with a stressed syllable, so it’s six lines in all. And in the English version most lines only have seven syllables, except the two in the middle: “all among the loony people/ certainly the trees are blooming”.

Zhan Bing 詹冰(綠血球 Taipei: 笠, 1965), from

hold it

(quakes, tsunamis, nuclear threats …)

the days of the blossoms
the yellow the white
the shoots and the air
and the birds and the bees
the flies and the beetles
the earth and the trembling
the cars that come floating
the buildings come tumbling
the life that sprouts

MW March 2011


(fuer japan, yunnan, burma …)

die tage die blueten
die spitzen die gruenen
die weissen die gelben
die bienen die fliegen
die wogen die steigen
die wagen die treiben
die erde die bebt und
das leben das keimt

MW Maerz 2011

my father’s hands

三月 17, 2008

my father’s hands
– after Lisa Suhair Majaj

my father’s hands
are not like mine
his hands were big
when i was small
his hands were hard
he built a house
his hands were warm
they are still big
my father’s hands
he is not tall
maybe his hands
are not that big
my son is small
his hands are soft
are they like mine?
we’ll wait and see

MW March 2008

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