I suddenly feel that I must give you a poem. I have no original poem good enough for you. So I give you my translation of another poet from a distant land. I pray you are well and strong. I found your old picture in my long forgotten album. The same smile. The same wind-blown hair. The same frown as you look into the bright light. I really like this dream for a moment. A new Anticipation .
[A First Meeting] (translated by this blogger)
a beautiful dream and poem alike
perchance spontaneous musing
often in stunning moments revealed
I like this kind of dream
wherein we always begin afresh
slowly unhurriedly explaining all
forlorn time bygone feeling retold
restoring ecstatic gratitude of old
my heart overflowing with glee
because you are here with me
you smile as in years that flee
I really like this kind of dream
I know you have traveled thousands of miles for me
yet I feel like the fisherman who has stumbled into your world anew*
like we have just met afresh
[初相遇](original by a Mongolian painter and poetess Xi-Mu-Rong)
*The original phrase describing a beautiful scenery “fragrant grass and profuse fallen petals” was quoted from a fable about a fisherman who stumbled into a utopian world, written around 421 AD by Tao-Yan-Ming, a famous politician poet.
~~~~~~~~~~~~Although I know we shall not try to communicate unless there is urgency to say something to make sure the other party know first hand what is happening, I still take up the phone often in an absent-minded way, pointing my index finger at the app. icon, in the process of touching the link to your screen. Then again, I check myself and tell my heart that I should not do it as you will be quite busy rushing to finish your speed reading assignment of the several hundreds of books within the time frame of a costly journey. Me too, my mind will remind me that I have tons of lectures to cramp into my brain on this side of the ocean. Alas, we are so far apart after all, each chewing words and papers day and night and night and day. sometimes I feel like these birds perched on a tiny rock in the middle of the ocean, focused on their current lives. Do they have a family somewhere on land, high on the cliff overlooking the vast water? I read that gulls do take care of their young birds until they are ready to fly away and become independent. I also read that gulls fly alone. In a way you and I are like them. We are not confined to a space. We move on with the currents of time. Sometimes I look at the photos you send and smile. You seem so young smiling with the sunset ocean behind you blowing gold specks on your wind swept hair. I told you you still look good. I have sent you the snow scene from the mountain here. You have commented that I look young and pretty. We have somehow stepped away from time. The time of stagnation. How amazing it is that I can make myself type so many words here for you. Telling you I have missed our time. Yes, like the birds at sea, I have flown too far. You too. Too far for tears to cry aloud. I just wake up to hear the seemingly dripping sound of tears draining from my heart. I still miss you. Thank you for the roses.
Homing dove not lost
sure in heart swift wings to post
compass pointing Love
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~She wrote back to him: I read your short email and post and affirm now that it was I who called. It doesn’t matter what noise you may have heard from the airport crowd I am fine and well as you have heard clearly in your heart recalling all the promises we have pledged to each other that regardless of the external factors and come what may we shall continue to stay in peace and hold fast to our confidence of love and good thoughts of each other and that our compass must always point to the direction of selfless Love. Thus you will never be lost to me. Neither will you ever lose me. This I truly affirm. You see, we have an unseen registry of covenant set by love in our heart and in heaven. Physical separation will not terminate the unseen words. Words written in our heart and spirit cannot be erased unless one party chooses to deny the record. Even then it will leave an unseen mark for life. I realize that love and faith cannot be separated. Faith implies trust in action.
Many years ago a young Mongolian woman married a young man she loved since childhood and he was conscripted the day after the wedding. They were separated for decades by long and cruel wars. The country was later split for political reason and he was banned from returning to the mainland. He was stranded on an island and was barred from communicating with her while she remained in Mongolia. He never married and finally saved enough means to come looking for her in his seventies when the political ban was relaxed. On the day of their reunion she fainted. Because she had stayed unmarried too for over half a century despite many suitors until just before her long lost first husband turned up. She finally accepted a recent proposal to re-marry as she became too old and frail to take care of herself. It was indeed a sad story. I don’t know what has happened to the woman who now has two men loving her at the same time. Love has kept the one day old bride and groom alive for so long and will keep them going even though they can no longer stay as man and wife. I like to imagine that he has built his yurt (tent) next to hers and see her everyday as her best friend. Perhaps the other man will allow him to have meals of buuz (dumplings), milk and cream with them. Perhaps they will live long to make up for the lost years.
I will not think that far into the distance. I pray and believe in a good ending.
[ The Shulamite to Her Beloved ] Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For loveis as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame.
~~~~~~~~~~Sometimes they cannot receive the physical letters from each other. Often it’s because one of them has traveled too far and beyond. There is no modern communication network in those realms. Sometimes it may not be physically appropriate to write and entrust the letters through a medium, whatever mode it may be. Yet they write letters. The traveler needs to write to a loved one who may be at home or in a place called ‘home’, where they have last said goodbye and from which one of them has journeyed on. Because there is now no wall between a combat zone and a peace zone where ordinary non-combating earth residents live their harmless daily lives, because combats are no longer based on formal declaration and agreement to combat between the parties concerned, and because there is really no foreseeable next move of certainty by anyone, letters between one another human individual revive from ashes. It is hard to say goodbye not knowing when she will meet her loved one again. It is hard too to know that there will be no regular physical letter. How will she know what the loved one is saying to her? She knows. She just knows from the words they have spoken to each other before and the hundreds of thousands of tears and smiles carefully stored in the memory.