在金船餅屋避雨 Sheltering From The Rain In The Café Caravela

Translated by Brian Holton  


the rain began during our chat
unavoidable as our chat
the Portuguese in the shop were drinking wine
behind them, the boat that had sailed every ocean
had it really been a treasure ship?
now it has congealed into a shop sign

sitting by the shop we idly watched
the day-long rain pouring and pouring down
and unavoidably tired by the dark green
reflection from the puddle of the little harbour
upturned chairs and tables waited for closing time, dogs
all gone too, café feasts drawn near to their codas

they’d all gone to Xinkoudian’s grocers
maybe talking politics, maybe kowtowing to a new Guan Yin
we few nostalgic incorrigibles
lingered on by the old shop
you said not long before there had been a gun-battle here
it all seemed ideal, but even here had not escaped

even you who took the long road from the tropics had buried your grudges
your kindness always feeling there was no way to change an ice-cold world
you wanted to go, but the Portuguese photographer said to stay
unavoidable that my friends wanted to go too
so many boats crossing the world’s oceans
hoping everyone could find their own rain and snow or sunshine

unavoidable that so many tall block-printed buildings were going up
the sorry little harbour watching each closed shop
we knew too that the vulgar little harbour hadn’t developed
into a peaceful place, but we could remember
we had gathered here to take a drink
trying to help each other relieve life’s sorrows


June 1999


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Copyright © AIEL 2008. All words and images are the property of Leung Ping Kwan and his associates. All Rights Reserved.