Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Married Love

By Kuan Tao-Sheng

Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

You and I
Have so much love
That it
Burns like a fire,
In which we bake a lump of clay
Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me.
Then we take both of them,
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
In life we share a single quilt.
In death we will share one bed.

Kuan Tao-Sheng ( 1262–1319) was a Chinese poet and painter who was active during the Yuan Dynasty.She was born in Huzhou and was the wife of Zhao Mengfu. She was talented in calligraphy and painting ink bamboo and plum with delicate and elegant strokes. The calligraphy of herself, her husband and her son Zhao Yong were collected in a scroll by Emperor Ren, who commented that it was a rare thing for a husband, wife and son to all be talented in calligraphy.

She inscribed poems on her paintings and used a style of poetry that was used rarely by women. In her poems she shows concern for her husband and children.

 One of the deepest human yearnings is connectedness, true connectedness. We have this deep longing to be irrevocably linked to another body, another soul. The deep desire for love, to be one with another on all levels, crosses all times and boundaries and how lovely to see that the narrator fulfilled that desire. Her beautiful words give wings and hope to all who have entered into this bond of everlasting love with another being. From ancient times, clay has been associated with human body.

(Translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung. Kenneth Rexroth’s, “One hundred Chinese Poems”, is a good book to start with for Chinese Poetry. Kenneth Rexroth was a fine American  poet)

No comments:

Post a Comment