Translated by Kwok Kwan Mun, Lo Kwai Cheung, John Minford
The word 'lotus' is hackneyed, if
we cannot find our own
seeds, bud new flowers.
Pointing to this trembling pale red tip, you name
it fuqu, handan
many fine names
beautiful, splendid names
having nothing to do with me, beauty and splendour
what meaning is there?
I wait in faith, to hear
the sepal breath, I am heavy and clumsy,
thwarted by mud. You drift lightly across the water
shedding the petals of yesterday, a fresh clean face again
in a public world, gaining wide circulation.
My leaves and stalks have their share of hubbub too, but
are muddy, sluggish, caught in private nightmares and
perilous deluges of dawn, and my roots, tangled
in silt, can never make themselves clear . . . .
Before I can finish, you turn impatiently to
the attentive gaze of others, the rhetoric habitual, recognized
I think eventually my words will be futile, will fail to make you
abandon the demarcations, or feel true cold and warmth
if you are for grandeur
you will naturally find my lack of embellishment shabby.
Finally I fall silent, looking at the distant hills
watching the pale blues and greyish greens
rush onwards, breaking the symmetry
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