蘇黎世的栗子 Roast Chestnuts in Zurich

Translated by Helen Wallimann  

Roast Chestnuts in Zurich 蘇黎世的栗子

I've just come back from Zurich
it was very cold but nice all the same coming out of the station
you see seagulls wheeling above the river
the town with nearby mountains and church steeples
as pretty as a postcard along the street
you walk into an advertisement for chocolates and watches
but see gentlemen's and ladies' clothing neatly
framed between refined crowded restaurants
the main dish was pungent early winter game
venison with sweet chestnuts and braised red cabbage
in the narrow slanting streets colourfully dressed carnival musicians
masked or with faces painted drove away stern winter with their discordant brasses
eager to welcome the eternal spring of the posters

The next day I went up the hill to see the art museum
then strolled over sloping lawns past
moss-covered sleepy-eyed stone statues
coming from who knows where through distant time and space
Islamic architecture keeps me company as I sit here
I can see the lake in the valley but not the faraway snowy peaks
many things have happened the musician who found refuge here
had a passionate love affair with someone or other
a wealthy baron collected culture from foreign lands
ideal figures came together and separated I am fortunate
here before an incomplete Buddha statue
I imagine the many paths he had to walk
before he could have such a magnanimous smile

No crossing the lake by boat not the right season
and no thought of climbing up the snow-capped mountains
I just hurried back happy to be seeing my friends
on my way walked over the remains of a Roman baths
dusk gradually turned into a night of ten thousand lights
a refuge for countless exiles
one writer spent his last years in this attic
a revolutionary lived next door on the first floor facing the street
Dadaists presented their nihilistic entertainments
amid beautiful riverside scenery yet dissatisfied
expecting many things to happen that never did
thousands of contradictions blended in the aesthetics of neutrality
as in a pot of yoghurt

Would you like orange raspberry or grape
there are so many things I haven't seen yet
leave them for later I needn't have everything
let others write about snow-capped mountains and swans
I don't mind that we didn't have the time
to try all the cheeses the fondues to put on
all the finery the hundreds of shop windows
mean nothing to me with a million things to choose from
all I bought was a bag of roast chestnuts from a stand
the crisp shells and sweet kernels are like the local scenery of my hometown
out of so many things all I chose
was a small bag of chestnuts one by
one I slowly ate them up


13 November 1998




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