MRT Poetry: Chen Ke-hua’s ‘Night’ 捷運詩句:陳克華的「夜」

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Another day, another opportunity to lean over someone to take a photo of the poem on the MRT behind them. This one’s by Chen Ke-hua and I thought it was pretty appropriate for this humid summer night.

夜     Night

沸騰之夜,     The Simmering Night,

將她最燙的一塊皮膚     Lays the most scalding piece of its skin

貼在我頰上。     Against my cheek.

我疼出淚來,說:不,     I cry tears of pain and say, “No”,

這不是我最需要溫暖的位置。     This isn’t where I’m most in need of warmth.

Chen was born in 1961 and was born in Hualien in Taiwan, although his family were originally from Wenshang in Shandong. After graduating from Taipei Medical University he started his career in medicine. In 1997 he studied at the Harvard Medical School, returning to Taiwan in 2000. He now works at the Department of Ophthalmology of Taipei Veterans General Hospital and as an assistant professor at the medical school of National Yang Ming University. As well as his medical career, he’s also a poet, an author, a painter and a photographer.

4 thoughts on “MRT Poetry: Chen Ke-hua’s ‘Night’ 捷運詩句:陳克華的「夜」

  1. Thank you for the translation, which led me to know the profile of the physician\poet , a new and interesting personality for me . While I was a senior high student in Taipei, I saw Pai shien-yong, a Chinese writer, almost 5 times a week in school days. I just finished a book by David Crystal, entitled “100 English Words…”. The book leads me to understand more about the history of the English language. However, the famous scholar made a mistake in naming the inventor of the telephone, it should be Bell but not Edison.

  2. Thanks for interesting and enjoyable posts. I think we definately need more poetry in public in my corner of the globe. Have you read any good fiction featuring Taipei city from the 90s/00s? I’m browsing for my PhD and for good reads in general, appreciate all suggestions!

    • Hi astridmo, I’ve just finished reading a book called 斷代 which features Taipei city around that period. I think Notes of a Desolate Man would be early nineties too. Wu Nianzhen (吳念真) also had a series of plays called the 人間條件 series which were very popular and contrast Taipei of the 90s, 2000s era with earlier periods in Taiwanese history. Taipei also features in 重見白橋 by 阮慶岳 and 路邊甘蔗眾人啃 (a biting look at what the DPP has become), but it is not the central theme of either story and both jump between past and present. There is a book that looks specifically at the development of Taipei from early on called 台北水城 might be good background reading. Anyway, best of luck with the PhD. If you want something to relax with, I would really recommend the poetry and prose of 木心. Would love to hear your recommendations too. 🙂

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