It feels like a return to
Eating ice-cream as students, your arm on my shoulder
Skipping one lousy class made us feel as if
The entire summer
Was stretched out by the duration of that one class, and we sensed deep inside
That this carefree hour had burnished our whole lives
Making them glisten more brightly
P.S. The poem is not a reference to 趴趴走ers, fleeing from quarantine (sorry did I ruin the mood by bringing up the dystopia that is our current reality?).
都可以 It can be both 有時候是阻擋 Sometimes it obstructs 有時候是歡迎 Sometimes it welcomes
進，或者出 Entry, or exit 都可以 It can be both
它真正的意思 Its real meaning 只是通過 Is just passing through
This is a nice little poem from author and poet Chiang Hsun (蔣勳). He was born in Xi’an in 1947, and moved to Taiwan with his family in the wake of the Chinese Civil War. He had some involvement with the anarchist movement in France while studying abroad there and supported the democracy movement in Taiwan while working as a professor on his return to Taiwan.
This time it’s a reader contribution. My former co-worker snapped this poem on the MRT and sent it to me. The poem was written by Chuang Tsu-huang (莊祖煌 pinyin: Zhuang Zuhuang) who goes under the pen-name Bai Ling (白靈). He was born in Taipei’s Wanhua District in 1951 to a family from Fujian in China. After studying chemistry in Taiwan and teaching for a while, he went to the US to study a master’s at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He is currently a professor at National Taipei University of Technology and at one time took part in a grassroots poetry collective, including a period as the editor of a grassroots poetry publication. He has won a plethora of prizes for his poetry.
不如歌 Better a Song
Better a manic something over a tranquil nothing
Better a tear bubbled up in heat over a dewdrop awaiting the warmth
Better to land the bullseye than to loose an arrow in haste
Better a single eagle than to raise three thousand doves
Better to be pecked, than to be kissed
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.
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.
I found this poem entitled Flower (花) by Taiwanese poet Bi Guo (碧果) on the MRT:
Just one more step
One can leave after shedding one’s garb
I also liked the stylized way the author’s name was written on the poster.
Bi Guo was born in 1932 and is the author of several poetry collections, including A Heartbeat Afternoon, A Changing and Unchanging Canary, Corporeal Awareness and Poetry Belongs to Eve. He has also published a collection of essays, a novel and a play. You can hear him reading some of his poems in Chinese below in a video by the Culture Bureau of the Taipei City Government: