Three Prose Poems

by Shang Qin 商禽 / translation by Steve Bradbury

海拔以上的情感

雨季開始以後,兀鷹們不再在 谷空吹他們令人心悸的口哨了 。

怎麼你想起一隻退休的船;海蠔 浮雕著舵,肆無忌憚地豪笑的 魚群空手歸去;而一隻粗心的老 鼠在兩年后醒來躺在甲板上哭 了。其實你是一隻現役的狗。雨 天不一定是聖餐日。慈悲的印 度王子不會給你一隻他的香港 腳。而獵風的人回來,得到的僅 僅是一個紅色的乳鐘形的鼻子. . . . .

等晚上吧,我將逃亡,沿拾薪者 的小徑,上到山頂;這裏的夜好 自私,連半片西瓜皮都沒有;卻 用我不曾流出的淚,將香檳酒 色的星子們擊得粉碎。

火雞

一個小孩告訴我:那火雞要在吃 東西時才把鼻上的肉綬收縮起來 ;挺挺地,像一個角。我就想;火 雞也不是喜歡說閒話的家禽;而 它所啼出來的僅僅是些抗議,而 已。

蓬著翅羽的火雞很像孔雀;(連它 的鳴聲也像,為此,我曾經傷心 過。)但孔雀乃炫耀它的美-- 由於寂寞;而火雞則往往是在示 威--向著虛無。

向虛無示威的火雞,並不懂形而 上學。

喜歡吃富有葉綠素的蔥尾。

談戀愛,而很少同戀人散步。

也思想,常常,但都不是我們所 能懂的。

天使們的惡作劇

當人們看見了那祇是一窩赤裸裸 的連眼也不曾睜開的鼠嬰之後,我 被他們所投擲的酒瓶埋葬之時,我 知道這是無可解釋的了;只好把我 的信念噓進每一個瓶口:我確曾見 得那是一堆各種族類的張著翅膀 的但是閉著眼的美麗的鳥屍;至於 一窩鼠嬰,我想,這一定是天使們 的惡作劇。知道嗎?天使們的惡作 劇。

© Shang Qin

Feelings Above Sea Level

After the rains came, the emptiness of the valley no longer echoed with the fearful cries of the Griffon vultures.

How did you come to think of a rusticated boat? Oysters make relief sculptures of the rudder, as schools of fish, roaring with brazen laughter, head home empty-handed, and a careless rat that woke up two years after lies weeping on the deck. In point of fact you are a dog on active duty. A rainy day is not perforce a Maundy Thursday. The compassionate Kashmiri prince will not offer you the leg with athleteís foot. But the hunter of winds returns, with nothing to show for his pains but a crimson nose in the shape of the nippled-bell at Fangshan Dinglin Temple . . .

Wait until evening, when I shall make my escape and follow the narrow path of the firewood gatherers up to the mountaintop. How selfish the night is here. Not a sliver of watermelon rind to spare, yet it will use the tears I havenít even shed to smash the champagne-colored stars to smithereens.

The Turkey

A child once pointed out to me that itís only when a turkey eats that its snood stiffens up like a horn. Which got me thinking that the turkey is not one of your common domestic birds with a fondness for idle chatter. Indeed, its every cry is nothing but a protest.

When it ruffles up its feathers the turkey bears an amazing resemblance to the peacock. (It even sounds the same, the thought of which once filled me with grief.) But while the peacock flaunts its splendor out of a feeling of loneliness, the turkey ruffles its feathers in a constant effort to put on a show of force in the face of nothingness.

A turkey that puts on a show of force in the face of nothingness obviously has a feeble grasp of metaphysics.

It likes to eat the chlorophyll-rich tips of the scallion.

It lightly turns its thoughts to love but rarely takes a stroll with its significant other.

It also thinks, quite often, but these are not the sort of thoughts we could ever understand.

The Angelsí Idea of a Practical Joke

When everyone saw only a litter of baby mice, naked and pink, that had never even opened their eyes, I knew, lying under the mound of their discarded liquor bottles, I knew that this defied all explanation, knew that there was nothing I could do but breathe my slender faith down the throat of each bottle: I had seen these were in fact the dead bodies of various kinds of beautiful birds with outstretched wings but with eyes closed forever on the world. As for the litter of mice, that must, I think, have been the angelsí idea of a practical joke. You know what I mean? The angelsí idea of a practical joke.

about Shang Qin