Fan Jinghua is a bilingual poet and translator. His poems have been published in literary magazines and anthologies in Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and USA. He has been invited to several international poetry festivals and has read his poems in different occasions, and he has been awarded prizes for his poems and translations. Jinghua works as a university lecturer and lives in Singapore.
When it feels like the lick of a cat, it is the coming of a summer;
Summer, this is the season I know.
Our year is one summer after another.
When it feels like the lick of a cow, it is the going of a summer.
Your palm, I feel with my cheeks, one cheek telling the feel to another,
While my eyes see your eyes fixing on the sun that is lowering,
Bigger first and then suddenly small before the canopy of darkness.
My man, my only, you are meek and good,
Your upper-arms hide muscles like mice, and your chest,
Firmer than the rock terrace by the pond, is the upcountry for my hands and head.
When there is no moon and our Lord is absent on his inspection tour,
When the rustlings of snakes and the chirpings of crickets are clearer
In the stillness of winds, your breath is soothing, and
Your silent gaze into the distance, sometimes unintelligible, is my peace,
Though you never speak and I never tell.
What else do I want
When in this garden whatever I can think of
I see and hear and touch?
The only unknowable lies behind your eyes, even when I can see they mirror
Stars and clouds like images in the water.
I sometimes go to the pond, alone, when you sit under a fig tree, a little absent-minded,
As if you do not see me when I am around, or
You like to be undisturbed.
I like kneeling down by it and see myself in it, untouchable, but I know that is me too.
I do not know why the clouds also grow in there as in your eyes
When they are flowing above our heads with our Lord.
You never speak to me about that world.
You might have always assumed that I understand as much as you know,
But I only know that if I do not know
That is because our Lord so ordains and you, too, wish so.
But there are so many things that I do not know,
Because they do not speak and cannot be touched.
There are things that I forget to learn:
Whenever you hold me around my waist or your palm touches my cheeks or nape,
I feel a sudden knowing or suddenly I forget what to know or to be known.
But your touch and hold are so seldom, my man,
And sometimes beasts and fowls are better companions.
Sometimes, I wish I have wings, not to be an angel, but a bird.
You have never traveled far and yet
All the adjectives are returning from your present time
To their origins of nouns
You are now not like anything else, but you are a thing itself
Black and white, and at most grey with few shades
The sharp edges of your shape are rounded
It is winter now, and when the exuberant grows thin
You are clad in puffiness, exempted from overt movements
Reclining into a posture with no rococo clothes, you do not
Expect the world in one color to detect
The snowmelt streamlets trickling on your body
Some life has to be off twice before it is recognized
First it dies, and then it is dead, as if it turns away and disappears
But now you've come back to it, simply forever