Fan Jinghua, born in 1965, is a poet and translator. His poems have been published in literary magazines and anthologies in Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, France, Singapore and USA, and he has been invited to poetry festivals. He is a university lecturer and lives in Singapore.
As if I have done all the things in my life, and yet
I have not matured. A long life seeps into a fissure.
I should be ashamed, head down behind my family.
Those who sleep tight have lived through a day,
And I linger over the poems by a master of silence,
Trying to retrieve the warmth of small things:
A lone espresso at a café, a look into the eyes, a spicy hotpot.
Can these common things, small and even banal, dredge
The blockages between the words, beneath the staccato of a poem?
Who could scoop up the silt from the bottom of a mirror,
Raising the terrain from the depth to form an archipelago,
As if a string of floating wine-bowls, reflecting the one in front?
So people look at the neck before them, drifting along,
And forget that they are drifted by the flow,
Forgetting that their feet are hanging in the mid-water.
What has a bed but never sleeps? What has a mouth
But never eats? What has no feet but forever moves?
What often moans but never speaks?
A riddle is intriguing and titillates like happiness,
But happiness hides behind a lampshade, irretrievable
Like insomniac dreams and love-making words.
Whenever a happy love flares up, I get electrified;
By a treeful of cherry blossoms, I fall, heavy and blank.
Don't babble about the second coming if knowing nothing about the next.