The process of writing poetry is also the process of my death. And it is also the process of my resurrection. Every time I write poetry it is like I travel from the earth to the moon, from the moon to the constellation Ursa Major…Every time I write poetry, it is the process of my surviving. After expressing my passion and inspiration, I obtain peace and tranquility like the sea and moonlight.

Originally

You said you were looking for another possibility,
A brighter shadow than here.
And my body is silent
Like language getting old.
How long can I keep my love for you,
I stand here, the field has run out of the birdsong.

You can’t live another life,
You can’t have a second shadow.
After my body was silent, I moved again
As the language I speak to you, flows to another city.
I speak to you: I love you.
The days of its validity are like the days of forests on earth.
Birds open their own, but also open the silence of the field.

 

原来

你说你要寻找另一种可能性,
比这里更光亮的影子。
而我的肉身已经沉默,
如同用旧的语言。
对你的爱还能保留多久,
我站在这里,原野用光了所有的鸟鸣。

你无法过上另一种生活,
你无法拥有第二个影子。
我的肉身沉默之后,重新走动
正如我对你的语言,流动到另一座城市。
我对你说,我爱你。
有效期如同森林在地球的日子。
鸟儿打开了自己,却也打开了原野的寂静。

 

You Taught Me This Kind of Life

Talk with the third person about what we also talked about,
Arouse my fantasies about you.
Your nails or even suitcase
What texture of shirts and sadness are filled in.

Your name is a contract.
Speaking of you——this virgin territory
I swept away the treasure map like a thief.

I went to the restaurants and bookstores you have been to
Like a museum collecting your life.
And you, the generous artist

You exhibited to me, despair is a piece of paper
Painted flying birds, painted blue grass,
You taught me this kind of life.

Fantasy I were a bird
footsteps move backward, there is a high cliff behind me.

The memory with you
Like a river flowing between our hands.

 

你教会我这种生活

与第三个人谈起我们曾谈过的,
引起我对你的幻想。
你的指甲甚至行李箱
装满什么质地的衬衫与哀伤。

你的名字是契约。
谈到你——这份处女地
我像小偷卷走藏宝图。

我去过你前往的餐馆,书店
如博物馆收藏你的生活。
而你,慷慨的艺术家

还向我展览,绝望是张纸
画上飞鸟,画上蓝色草地,
你教会我这种生活。

幻想我是鸟
脚步后移,身后高崖。

与你的记忆
如河流从我们双手间流淌。

 

Spring Scenery

You make my blood obtain flow,
You make my time begin to die.

You make me know a second is
Finite, endless.

Everything is you,
Can’t stand more you.

I want to die in every second of the sea,
The tide surges over every inch of our skin.

Every inch of our skin longs for death,
Longing for the fields is like love.

The plague that carried the spray.

 

春色

你让我的血液拥有涌动。
你让我的时间开始死亡。

你让我知道一分一秒是,
有限,无穷。

世界都是你。
不允许多出更多的你。

我想死在大海的每秒里,
潮水涌动在我们的每寸肌肤上。

我们的每寸肌肤都渴望死,
渴望田地如同爱情。

携带浪花的瘟疫。

 

Incheon Port

Before we left, we took one last look at blue.
Blue as my parting words.

Before we left, we took one last look at blue.
Sea, your traveler is leaving.

Before we left, we took one last look at blue.
It dyed my returning shirt blue.

“What is the name of this sea?”
“Or, let’s call it the Incheon Port.”

Before we left, we took one last look at blue.
Incheon Port. If you don’t like the name,

I will call you, lover’s gaze.

 

仁川港

在我们离开前,我们最后看望了一眼蓝色。
蓝得如同我的离别赠言。

在我们离开前,我们最后看望了一眼蓝色。
海水,你的旅人就要走了。

在我们离开前,我们最后看望了一眼蓝色。
它把我回家的衬衫染蓝了。

“这片海叫什么名字?”
“或者,我们把它叫做仁川港吧。”

在我们离开前,我们最后看望了一眼蓝色。
仁川港,你若不满意这个名字,

我叫你,恋人的眼神。

 

Light Up

They put a carrot nose
Two brooms
On my silence.

They laughed beside my window,
Tore my silence
Into small snowballs.

They had a snowball fight, my silence
Was thrown into the air,
Was trampled under their soles.

They had loved me, touched me, kissed me,
And they left, the snowball rolled to the withered grass.

Many afternoons,
Only snow and me,
Light up each other.

 

照亮

他们给我的寂静
安上红萝卜鼻子
两只扫帚

他们在我窗前欢笑
把我的寂静
撕成小小的雪球

他们打雪仗,我的寂静
抛在半空里
踩在靴子底

他们爱过我,抚摸过我,亲吻过我
他们走了,雪球滚到枯草旁

许多傍晚
唯有我与雪
相互照亮

 

Ancient

We are cut off by language and daily life,
Abandoned by the sky on the earth together.

Our love is handcuffs,
We share each one

And be a pair.
The bird is about to soar and to sacrifice.

You beyond
Our common and only existence.

The moment the bird is decapitated and released,
I close my eyes. God is crying.

We wander around the planet,
The bird distinguishes us.

God’s tears welled up.
This is an old clock. You and I are second hands.

Second by second. If you start crying now,
It’s just tears coming prematurely.

 

古老

我们被语言和日常斩断,
共同被天空抛弃在大地上。

我们的爱是镣铐,
我们分享各自的一只

成为一双。
这只鸟即将凌空献祭。

你轻轻越过
我们共同唯一的存在。

鸟被斩首释放的那刻,
我闭上眼睛。神在哭泣。

我们在星球里流浪,
这只鸟使我们相辨。

神的眼泪涌动出来,
这是古老的时钟,我和你是秒针。

一秒接着一秒。你若此刻开始哭泣,
这只是眼泪过早降临。

 

Note on Translations: All poems translated by Sinan (Cai Yingming)

 

off the margins contributors are asked to respond questions that will be asked of all featured writers to further articulate a collective response to the question: How do we step off the margins of convention and enter the wild terrain of our writing?

Who are the women writers who have influenced your own work?

This question reminds me of moonlight and literature mother.

The women writers who have influenced my works are my moonlight and the literature mothers. In fact, there should be a similarity between our souls and the works. I see my own shadow in her lofty figure. I find holy snow and light from the Himalayas, baptized and illuminated, and worship her.

This literature mother should have a profounder meaning, not a specific woman writer. She is the writer of all women writers. She is the source of all light. She is a great power that calls me. So far, I do not know who this literature mother is for me, but I think she is a mysterious power, she should not be a specific person.

And when it comes to the specific women writers who have influenced my own works, the strength of Russian poetess Marina Tsvetaeva has influenced me. Her influence on me was not limited to words. Nor was the influence I drew from her confined to her words. There was something in the depth of her soul that strongly attracted me and influenced me. Her ardor, her naivety, her idealism, her romanticism, and the destructive power of her soul and life, the fearless and unyielding power of her words. She has been waiting for the point of the knife for too long! She sanctified everything in the world but what were truly sacred were not everything but her soul and emotion. Her perseverance of life also moved me. She has always maintained a noble heart in her life of suffering, like an indomitable and smooth pebble in the heavy spoondrift of history. There was an indestructible power in her words, or rather in her life and soul. She was like a giant magnet, and I was firmly attracted to her.

Provided that Tsvetaeva is a sea with rising tides to me, Emily Dickinson is a sea with falling tides to me. After the ebb of tides, the world obtains a kind of eternal and tremendous silence and tranquility, as if the end of life. Had I not seen the sun, I could have borne the shade. But light a newer Wilderness, my Wilderness has made. This is incomparable wildness. This is the world’s greatest desolation. Her sea is endless, deep and fascinating, sparkles with quiet and passionate light. Her tranquil passion is a kind of passion to attain eternity. The ebb tide also contains the rising of life force. Her words are as if time indwells the earth. There is a kind of gentle maternity on her that attracts me. Although she was unmarried and childless all her life, her maternity has been reflected and shining in the words. If Tsvetaeva is tearing me apart, Emily Dickinson is repairing me. They are the burning and dazzling sun and the deep and serene moonlight. They are the seas with rising tides and falling tides.

I’m reading American poetess Sharon Olds recently. Many of her works reflect female unique exquisite innermost feelings, which deeply moved me when I read. She controls the details of the text precisely just as if she can set off an electric shock experiment of a human body from a microscopic human sell. She is honest with herself, with her heart and with her life, and shows the honesty to the readers. This honesty sublimates to a kind of faith and loyalty. She is loyal to the feminine distinctive sensibility of life, to words and to the world. She writes with noble and brilliant humanity. Her poetry moved me and awed me.

I am also impressed by the works of the Japanese poetess Kaneko Misuzu and the Swedish poetess Edith Sodergran. The reason why these women writers influence me or resonate with me is that we have connections, not only between words, but also between thoughts and souls. I feel uneasy about it when the first time I face American readers and depict the wonderful American women writers that you are familiar with. The understandings and feelings to above mentioned women writers are based on my limited experience of reading in my young life. Looking for women writers who have influence on oneself is like looking for the light from one’s literature mother. I am still in the process of looking for them. I hope that in my future life meeting others who have influence on me and accept her shine to light up my life and soul. Perhaps, this woman writer is time, or the universe that we exist.

哪些女作家曾经影响过你的作品?
这个问题让我想到了月光与文学母亲。

影响我作品的女作家们,就是我的月光与文学母亲。事实上,应该是我们的灵魂与作品当中有相似之处,我从她崇高的身影中看到了我自己的影子。我从喜马拉雅山上发现圣洁的雪与光芒,接受洗礼和照耀,并且顶礼膜拜。

这个文学母亲,应该有更深层次的意义,不是具体某一位作家。她是所有女作家中的作家,她是所有光芒的源头。她是一种召唤我的伟大力量。迄今为止,我还不知道这个文学母亲是谁,但我觉得她是一股神秘的能力,她应该不是一个具体的人。

但如果要谈及对我的作品产生影响的具体的女作家时。俄罗斯女诗人茨维塔耶娃身上的力量影响了我。她对我的影响,并不是局限于文字的影响。我从她身上汲取的影响,也并非是局限于从她文字获得的。她的灵魂深处有强烈吸引我并且影响我的地方。她的热烈,她的天真,她的理想主义,她的浪漫主义,以及她的灵魂与生命当中的摧毁力,她文字当中勇敢无畏,一往直前的力量。【她等待刀尖已经太久!】她把世间万物都神圣化崇高化,而真正神圣的不是万物,是她的灵魂与感受。她的生命毅力也打动了我。她在她苦难的一生中始终保持着高贵的心,在沉重的历史浪淘中像一颗不屈不饶而又光滑的小石子。她的文字,或者说,她的生命力与灵魂中,有一股坚不可摧的强大力量。她就像是个巨大的磁铁,而我被她牢固地吸引住了。

如果说茨维塔耶娃于我而言是涨潮的大海,那么艾米丽•狄金森对我来说就是落潮的大海。落潮以后,世界获得一种永恒与巨大的沉静,安宁,仿佛生命的尽头。【我本可以忍受黑暗,如果我不曾见过太阳/然而阳光已使我的荒凉,成为更新的荒凉】这是无与伦比的荒凉,这是世界最大的荒凉。她的这片大海,无穷无尽,深邃迷人,闪烁宁静而又激情的光辉。宁静的激情是一种获得永恒的激情。落潮当中又蕴含着力量的崛起。她的文字如同时间一样,存在于地球。她身上有一种温柔的母性吸引着我,虽然她一生未婚未育,但她的母性已在文字得到体现与闪耀。如果说茨维塔耶娃是撕裂我,那么艾米丽•狄金森就是修复我。她们是热烈刺眼的太阳与深邃宁静的月光。她们是涨潮与落潮的大海。

最近我在阅读美国女诗人莎朗•奥兹的作品。她的作品很多反映女性独特细腻的内心深处的情感,读起来令我深受感动。她对文字细节的把控精准到位,如同一个人体细胞,便掀起了一场人体电击试验。她对于内心的诚实,对于自身的诚实,对于生命的诚实。并且把这种诚实呈现给读者。这种诚实上升到一种忠实,甚至是忠诚。对女性特有的生命感受力的忠诚,对诗歌与世界的忠诚。她的写作怀着崇高,光辉的人性。她的诗歌令我感动,并且令我敬畏。

日本女诗人金子美铃,芬兰女诗人索德格朗的作品也有打动我。我上述这些诗人之所以能够影响我,或者与我产生共鸣,是因为我们存在联结,不仅仅是文字,更加是思考与灵魂。寻找对于自己有影响的女作家,如同寻找自己的文学母亲所散发的光芒。当我第一次面对着美国读者,描述你们所熟悉的美国优秀女作家时,我是怀着忐忑不安的心情,对这些女作家的了解与感受是基于是我在年轻的二十岁当中有限的阅读所做出的。我现在也还是一直在寻找的过程,希望在我未来漫长的生命,还可以遇到对自己有影响的女作家,接受她月光般的照耀,点亮我的生命与灵魂。或许,这位女作家,会是时间本身吧。又或者,她会是我们存在的这个宇宙本身。
——蔡英明

What would you like people to know about what inspires your poetry?

When I write poetry, I often feel that I have experienced tsunamis and earthquakes in my mind. My fingers beat on the keyboard as spoondrift spraying and rolling. When I write poetry, I often feel like I’m a nuclear power plant, and the sparks of inspiration spurt out from my brain. When I write poems, I am self-destructing. I am self-igniting. I am igniting my endless passion and outpouring inspiration. This process approaches death. The process brought me back to the moment when I gave birth to my mother, sweet and cruel, painful and happy.

The process of writing poetry is also the process of my death. And it is also the process of my resurrection. Every time I write poetry it is like I travel from the earth to the moon, from the moon to the constellation Ursa Major. Every time I write poetry, I am divorced from reality and led to distant places where deep and unknown in the universe. Every time I write poetry, it is the process of my surviving. After expressing my passion and inspiration, I obtain peace and tranquility like the sea and moonlight.

Then, what inspired my writing? What is the Muse of my poetry?

I often say — it is not the Muse that comes to me but I come to the Muse. It is not me to find poetry but poetry finds me. And poetry and I choose each other. We are fated. Poetry is my savior and slave owner, my nuclear power plant explosion and tsunami, my death and love, my pain and happiness. Writing poetry is bound up with my destiny. Or, poetry transcends my destiny, my physical body and my language.

When I meditate quietly, my mind enters a sea. Thoughts and inspirations pour down naturally like moonlight, and words flaps like waves and whirlpools. This is the revelation from nature. I’m listening to nature’s command to me. At this time, if I were a shrimp or a crab, I would be addicted to the sea. If I had been more intoxicated, I would have drowned in the sea, and given up the struggle.

When I write poetry, I am creating the illusion of life. I exist in the universe and time while my existence is an illusion exactly. I soothe my soul with poetry, and my thoughts of life like leaves fall, fall, fall. They can’t stop. Spring, summer, autumn and winter, even when leaves wither in winter, they still have their vitality. The inspiration for my poetry writing is probably the same. As long as my physical body exists, inspiration will melt into the root of my life like a tree. Even if my body dies, my faith exists, and my inspiration also flows in time and space.

Writing poetry is something I have to do. If I don’t write it down, I will be swallowed up by the waves on me. If I don’t write it down, I will be burned by the flames on me. — I have to write it down–god orders me to write it down–I can’t stop it, nobody can. I am a labor of poetry forever. I submit to poetry, and poetry is my proudest craft as a mortal.

I seek the profound meaning of life from poetry. I seek my existence in the universe and time from poetry. And where do I exist? An unknowable place. Just like poetry is unknowable. The essence of my relationship with poetry is the fundamental source that inspired my writing. Because poetry and I are destined, I was born for poetry. And as above-mentioned, poetry transcends my destiny, my physical body and my language. Where does inspiration come from? Is it from the universe? Is it from nature? Is it from time? I think it comes from my being, and the connection of my being between the universe, nature and time.

什么启发了你的诗歌?

当我写诗的时候,我常常觉得自己的脑海里经历了海啸与地震。我的手指在键盘上敲打,犹如浪花在翻滚。而每一朵浪花都即将把我吞噬。当我在写诗的时候,我常常觉得自己是一个核电站,灵感如同火花从我的大脑喷射出来。我写下诗句,我是在进行自我摧毁。我是在进行自我点燃。我在燃烧我源源不断的激情与灵感。这个过程逼近死亡。这个过程仿佛让我重新回到从母亲身上分娩出来的时刻,亲切又残忍,痛苦又幸福。

我写诗的过程,也是我死亡的过程。也是我重新复活的过程。每一次写诗歌,犹如从地球到月球,从月球到大熊星座。每一次写诗歌,都是我脱离现实的环境,被引领去遥远的地方,或许是宇宙深处,不为人知的地方。每一次我写诗歌,都是我死里逃生的过程。当我抒发完自己的激情与灵感,我获得像大海和月光般的祥和与安宁。

那么,什么启发了我的写作呢?我诗歌的缪斯是什么?

我常常说——不是缪斯降临我,而是我宠幸了缪斯。不是我找到了诗歌,而是诗歌找到了我。然而我和诗歌是互相选择的。写诗是我命中注定的事情。诗歌是我的救世主与奴隶主,诗歌是我的核电站爆发与海啸,诗歌是我的死亡与热恋。写诗与我的命运紧密结合。或者,诗歌超越了我的命运,超越了我的肉身,超越了我的语言。

我安静沉思的时候,我的脑海就进入到一片大海,思绪与灵感就如同月光一样自然而然地倾泻下来,而文字就如同浪花与漩涡在拍打。这是来自自然的启示,这是我在谛听大自然对我的命令。这时,如果我是海边的一只小虾或者螃蟹,我会沉迷于这片大海的。如果我更加陶醉,我可能会溺死在这片大海,并且,我放弃挣扎。

我在写诗的时候,是在制造生命的幻觉。我存在于宇宙与时间里,我本身就是一个幻觉。我用诗歌抚慰我的灵魂,我生命的思绪就像是落叶一样掉落。掉落,掉落。不能停止。春夏秋冬,即使它在冬季干枯的时候,它也有其生命力的存在。我写诗的灵感大抵也是如此。如同一棵树,只要我的肉身的存在,灵感就融入到我生命的根部里。即使我的肉身消亡,我的信念存在,我的灵感也同样在时空中流动。

写诗,是不得不写。是如果不写下,我就会被我身上的浪花吞灭。如果不写下,我就会被我身上的火焰所烫伤。——是因为我不得不写下——是因为神命令我写下——我无法阻止它,无人可以。我永远是诗歌的劳役,我屈服于诗歌,而诗歌也是我作为一个凡人,最骄傲的手艺活。

我从诗歌中寻求生命更深的意义,我从诗歌中寻求我在宇宙与时间的存在。而我存在于哪里呢?不可知的地方。正如诗歌是不可知的。我与诗歌的关系本质,就是启发我创作的根本源头。因为我与诗歌命中注定,我为诗歌而生。而如同上述,诗歌超越了我的命运,超越了我的肉身,超越了我的语言。灵感与启发来自于哪呢?来自于宇宙吧?来自于自然吧?来自于时间吧?我认为,它来自于我的存在。以及我自身的存在与宇宙,自然,时间的联结。
——蔡英明

Biography:
Sinan (real name Cai Yingming) is a young Chinese poet, born in Fujian Province in 1999. She published her first book of poems Naming at 20 years old. Her poems have been published in national, provincial and municipal magazines in China, such as Poetry Magazine, Stars, Flying sky, Grassland, Poetry Forest, Coconut City, Jiangnan Poetry, Prose Poetry, Quanzhou literature, Shan Dong literature, Yanhe Poetry, among others. Her poems have been translated into Japanese and English and also published overseas, such as the Japanese magazine Gendaishi Techo (Journal of Contemporary Poetry) and Philippine World Daily. Her poems have been selected in various writing anthologies such as: 2018 Annual Anthology of Chinese Poetry, 2018 Youth Poetry Yearbook, 2018 list of Chinese New Poetry, 2019 list of Chinese New Poetry, Three Hundred Chinese Poems in 2019, 2019 Annual Anthology of Chinese Poetry, 2020 Calendar of Chinese New Poetry, Selected Works of Chinese Young Poets in 2020, Daily Poetry for Volume 2021 and Penning The Pandemic (USA), etc. She has won The Outstanding Writer Prize in the first international micro Poetry Competition, the Third Boao International Poetry Prize for Young Poet, the Outstanding Prize in the Seventh Handan National University Students’ Poetry Festival, and the College Student Special Prize in the Second Dufu Chinese Poetry Competition. In November 2019, She attended Poetry Bridging Continents, an international symposium held at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire and the AMC Highland Center in Bretton Woods .In 2020, her first poetry collection Naming won Hainan provincial literature award, the First Xiaojian Youth Literature Award. This prize was awarded to outstanding Hainan writers who born after 1975, she was the youngest writer among the ten winners.

司南,原名蔡英明,中国青年诗人,1999年生于中国福建省。二十岁时出版第一本诗集《命名》。她的诗歌发表刊登于中国国家级、省级、市级的杂志报刊,如《诗刊》《星星》《飞天》《草原》《诗林》《椰城》《诗江南》《散文诗》《泉州文学》《山东文学》《延河诗歌专号》等。她的诗歌被翻译成日语、英语,有作品刊登海外,如日本杂志《现代诗手帖》,菲律宾《世界日报》等。她的作品还被选入各种诗歌年度选本,如《2018中国诗歌年选》《青年诗歌年鉴2018年卷》《2018年中国新诗排行榜》《2019年中国新诗排行榜》《2019年汉诗三百首》《2019中国诗歌年选》《2020年中国新诗日历》《每日一诗2021年卷》《书写大流行疾病》(美国)等。她曾获得首届国际微诗大赛优秀写手奖、第三届博鳌国际诗歌奖年度新锐奖、第七届中国•邯郸大学生诗歌节优秀奖、第二届杜甫杯华语诗歌大赛大学生特别奖等。2019年11月她参加美国新英格兰学院、布雷顿森林的AMC高地中心举行的“诗歌连接大陆”国际研讨会。2020年,她的第一本诗集《命名》获得海南首届晓剑青年文学奖,这个奖项颁发给出生于1975年之后的海南优秀作家,她是文学创作奖的十位获奖者中最年轻的一位。