It is an honour to have a poet respond to one’s work with a poem. I have translated Jeff’s poem and read it in Cantonese.
Note: Mary Tang, a poet I follow and who has been translating my Spring Songs series into Chinese, wrote recently about her grandmother’s life and death, and after reading those posts on her blog I was moved to write the poem below. It is posted with her permission, and directly below is her translation.
If you die on a holiday expect to be buried without ceremony
in the vacant space between an extended celebration
and getting back to business as usual but there is nothing
more usual than the dead Above her unclaimed grave
power lines have been hung where a marker might
have been a tree is growing It may only be growing
because those lines opened up the sky for it to grow
from the matter forgotten by sons but the tree’s leaves
are her prayer flags and the wind rushing the gap
are all the other…
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