Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Jiang Hao Poem

The Shape Of The Ocean

Every time you ask about the shape of an ocean
I should bring you two bags of ocean water.
This is ocean's shape, like a pair of eyes,
or the shape of ocean that eyes have seen. 

You touch them, as if wiping away two burning tears, 
as tears are the ocean’s shape, too, the clarity
springing from the same deep soul.
Putting the bags together will not
make the ocean wider. They are still fresh,
as if two non-fish will soon swim out.
You sprinkle the water to the sand of flour,
the bread, also, is the shape of the ocean.
Before you slice it with a sharp sail
it leaves, like a departing boat. The plastic bags
left on the table also have the ocean's shape, flat
with tides retreating from the beaches.
When the real tide goes away
there’s salt left, shaped as the ocean too.
You don't believe? I should bring you a bag
of water and a bag of sand, the shape of ocean.
You affirm, you deny; then you non-affirm,
and non-deny? Go on and try out yourself,
as this is your shape too. But you say
“I’m only the image of myself.”

(2003) Tr. Ming Di and Afaa Weaver (2009)

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