a haiku story: Dear Love · love story · photography · poetry · woman story

a love poem to end and to begin

a-new-beginningI 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)
美丽的梦和美丽的诗一样
都是可遇而不可求的
常常在最没能料到的时刻里出现

我喜欢那样的梦
在梦里 一切都可以重新开始
一切都可以慢慢解释
心里甚至还能感觉到所有被浪费的时光
竟然都能重回时的狂喜和感激

胸怀中满溢著幸福
只因为你就在我眼前
对我微笑 一如当年
我真喜欢那样的梦

明明知道你已为我跋涉千里
却又觉得芳草鲜美 落英缤纷
好像你我才初初相遇

*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.

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daughter of God · poetry · thoughts · why not woman · woman writers · women · writing

So, let our lives Be full of dreams

bingxinA few poems quoted at random from Spring Water (published 1923) by Bingxin (Chinese: “Pure in Heart”), a woman poet from China.

Spring Water

1

Water in spring,

It is another year,

And you are still running after the breeze.

May I have a look at

My reflection again?

Water replies gently with thanks:

“My friend,

I have never kept a reflection,

Not even yours.”

2

The four seasons slowly pass by-

Hundreds of flowers whisper to each other:

“We are the small and weak!

So, let our lives

Be full of dreams

And our drinking cups

Sentimental,

For God has already arranged all these!”

3

Young People!

You should be

As still and sober as mountains, if

You can’t float with winds,

The flowing wind-like career

Only belongs to the lives of poets.

6

Poets!

Do not grieve nature.

The picture of “beauty”

Needs to be painted lightly.

52

In the slightly tiring

Deep thought,

The pigeon whistles

Carried on the wind,

Pierce the air for poems.

58

Ice is as quiet as a mountain,

But a mountain is as vivid as flowing water.

How can the poet

Manipulate them like this?

~~~~~~~~

Biography of Bing Xin (1900 – 1999)

Bing Xin was one of the most outstanding modern female writers in China. Originally named Xie Wanying; born in Changle, Fujian Province. Bing Xin was the pioneer of the canon of children’s literature in modern China. Her parents encouraged her to study and write. In 1919, when she was studying in a girl college in Beijing, the event May 4th Movement by the students in Beijing changed her life. and she was in charge of the publicity in the student union. She wrote many related poems, articles, and stories.

In 1919, she published her first piece Two Families under the pen name “Bing Xin”. In 1921, she joined the Literary Research Society. In 1923, she amazed the literary circle with her short poems when they were published in two separate collections, Myriad Stars and Spring Water. In the same year, She went to America to study literature and focused her attention on literary research. She recounted her travels and experiences of her stay abroad in a series of essays, and published them in newspapers in China. These essays caused a national sensation and were later collected and published under the title of Letters to My Little Readers.

In 1926, Bing returned to China after receiving her M.A. degree. She taught at Yanjing University, later at Tsinghua University, and Beijing Women’s College of Arts and Sciences. In 1946, she went to Japan with her husband Wu Wenzao and taught at Tokyo University. She went back to China in 1951. Upon her return, she published a collection of poems, Ode to Cherry Blossoms, and a collection of essays, The Second Batch of Letters to My Little Readers. Apart from writing, Bing Xin also translated a number of foreign literary works. With the reputation “the grandmother of the literary circle” earned through her longevity, she passed away in 1999 at the age of 99.

Love Life

Her love story with Wu Wenzao, a famous sociologist and ethnologist, started in 1923 on a ship that sailed from Shanghai. The ship was bound for the United States, and Bing met Wu when she was searching for the brother of one of her classmates.

In 1929, the two got married while studying in the United States. Together, they became an internationally well-known couple in intellectual circles all over the world, mingling with other literary luminaries such as Virginia Woolf.

Their story was one of those love stories that have captured the hearts and imaginations of the Chinese public for decades. Many of them have been adapted for the big screen as well as for television. In a world where buildings fall, relationships end and economies collapse almost overnight, their tales remind us of the endurance of real love.

(the above are quoted and excerpted from various internet sources)

biography · poetry · thoughts · why not woman · woman story

Don’t tell me women are not the stuff of heroes

Don’t tell me women
are not the stuff of heroes,
I alone rode over the East Sea’s
winds for ten thousand leagues.
My poetic thoughts ever expand,
like a sail between ocean and heaven.
I dreamed of your three islands,
all gems, all dazzling with moonlight.
I grieve to think of the bronze camels,
guardians of China, lost in thorns.
Ashamed, I have done nothing;
not one victory to my name.
I simply make my war horse sweat.
Grieving over my native land
hurts my heart. So tell me;
how can I spend these days here?
A guest enjoying your spring winds?

(poem by Qiu Jin, Chinese feminist & revolutionary martyr)

Qiu Jin (1875–1907) was a Chinese writer & poet, a strong-willed feminist who is considered a national hero in China. Also called “Jianhu Nüxia” (Woman Knight of Mirror Lake”), she was executed after participating in a failed uprising against the Qing Dynasty.

Qiu Jin was born in 1875 to a family of the gentry, and received an excellent education as was typical for a young woman of her position. She always loved to write, and in this period of her life she wrote many joyful poems on subjects ranging from flowers and the four seasons to visiting historical places and domestic activities. She also wrote about female heroes and warriors from Chinese history, in inspiring poems about their strength, courage, and beauty. One of her poems begins“Don’t tell me women / are not the stuff of heroes” (as above quoted). Her poetry reflected her self-confidence and desire to become an excellent female writer as valued by traditional Chinese culture.

When Qiu Jin was 19, she obeyed her father and married the son of a wealthy merchant, against her own wishes. Qiu became extremely unhappy in her marriage. She wrote of her husband, “That person’s behavior is worse than an animal’s….He treats me as less than nothing.” and “When I think of him my hair bristles with anger, it’s absolutely unbearable.” Her previous self-confidence was shaken and her dreams of becoming a recognized poet were abandoned. Her poetry from this period of her life was full of self-doubt and loneliness.

During this period Qiu also began writing poetry about current events and the fate of China. After hearing of events such as the Boxer Rebellion and occupation of Beijing, she used her poetry, with literary allusion to heroines of the past, to express her concern about the fate of China and Chinese women. Qiu longed to serve her country but realized that that wasn’t possible as long as she was trapped in a conventional married life. Her marriage was an important catalyst in her development as a feminist and revolutionary.

In 1903, Qiu Jin moved with her husband to Beijing where he had purchased an official post. In Beijing, Qiu started reading feminist writings and became interested in women’s education.

Qiu Jin finally left her husband in 1903, leaving to study in Japan. She became vocal in her support for women’s rights, pressed for improved access to education for women in her journals and speech, and spoke out against the practice of foot-binding. Returning to China in 1905, she joined the Triads, an underground society who advocated for the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, and other anti-Qing societies both Chinese and Japanese. She admired the Japanese for their disciplined military spirit and thought that it played an important role in the modernization of Japan.

“With all my heart I beseech and beg my two hundred million female compatriots to assume their responsibility as citizens. Arise! Arise! Chinese women, arise!”

In 1906 Qiu founded her own journal, “Zhongguo nubao” (Chinese women’s journal), which featured nationalist and feminist writings. Unlike traditional and other nationalist views that held women’s place as mothers and educators in a traditional family role, Qiu Jin saw the traditional family as oppressive to women.

Qiu was appointed head of the Datong school in the city of Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, in 1907. The school was supposedly for sport teachers, but was actually used for the military training of revolutionaries. In the final years of her life, she frequently cross-dressed, wearing western-style men’s clothing, and practiced military drills and training with her students. She became well-known as a chivalrous woman for helping the poor and weak.

At this time, Qiu was working with her cousin Xu Xilin to unite and train fellow revolutionaries who also believed that China needed a western-style government. On July 6, 1907, Xu was caught and tortured for information before an uprising they had scheduled in Anqing in Angui Province. He was executed the next day.

Qiu Jin learned about her cousin’s death and the failed uprising a few days later. She was warned that officials would be coming for her at the Datong school, but she stayed anyway, writing to her sword sister Xu Yunhua that she was determined to die for the cause. On July 13, Qiu was arrested. Even after being tortured she refused to talk about her involvement in the scheduled uprising, but incriminating evidence was found at the school. On July 15, 1907, Qiu Jin was beheaded publicly in her home village of Shanyin, at the age of 31.

Shocked by the brutal execution of a woman, many Chinese were strengthened in their resentment of the Qing dynasty. Qiu Jin immediately became a national hero, and was the subject of poetry, drama, and numerous works of fiction. Much of her writing, including her poetry and letters to family and friends, was published after her death.

To this day, Qiu Jin is a symbol of women’s independence in China. She is now buried by Xī Hú (West Lake) in Hangzhou, where a statue of her marks her tomb.

(Above quoted from: KeriLynn Engel, Amazing Women In History)

Qui Jin, at one level, was an oriental twentieth-century Judith, the mythical Jewish widow from Bethulia who cut off the head of Holofernes, the Assyrian general besieging the city, thus saving the Israelites from destruction. Qui Jin was, as Judith was, a self-reliant heroine who when others seemed ‘helpless and demoralized undertook to save them single-handedly’, or in her case virtually single-handedly. This, of course, was both her making and her unmaking. In Chinese terms the story of Qui Jin, like the story of Judith if less famous, less publicised, more recent, is the story of an icon at once central and at the same time marginal to tradition. She contradicted the most cherished customs on Confucian Chinese culture. She was a radical force who thrust her way to the centre of the concentric circles of customs surrounding this culture and was pushed back to the margins by conservatism. Nevertheless Qui Jin was not without success. She challenged a long-established mythology of exclusively masterful patriarchy – and created a counter myth of purposeful patriotic feminism. She was a counter-cultural icon who changed perceptions of Chinese femininity. She gave courage, confidence and purpose to those women who came after her and absorbed her ambitions for modern Chinese womanhood. For them she was a modern national heroine and a personification of a modern nation of equal men and women. For Qui Jin the body was an instrument of female revolution to be trained, strengthened and prepared for confrontation. As a revolutionary militant she was a failure; as a revolutionary talisman she was a success. For the Chinese women of the 1911 Revolution hers was an exemplary emancipatory story: subscribe, struggle, sacrifice. Patriotism through feminism is the purpose. Her heroism was firmly outside the historic patriarchal order. Her adulation is thus all the more remarkable because of the profound traditions she rejected, the controversial mannerisms she adopted, the uncompromising attitudes she embraced. She eschewed motherhood, abandoned marriage, dismissed femininity, and yet won acclaim in the most traditional of cultures. Qui Jin was hardly a cynosure of universal acclaim but she was admired, respected and emulated by radical Chinese women and men seeking a new society accommodating women. Her modern feminism struggled to overcome an ancient patriarchy. Here was her appeal. She exuded no moral ambiguity. Consequently, if she was demonized by the conventional; she was deified by the radical – and inspired them as the contemplated and attempted to construct the future. There is a point, of course, that should not be overlooked. Qui Jin, in fact, is not divorced from occidental culture and political iconography. Qui Jin is closely associated with the attitudes, aspirations and fantasies of modern Western feminism. As Margarita Stocker observes, a ‘romantic heroine, angry feminist, radical, activist is one example of a pervasive figure’, in modern Western cultural mythology ‘a figure we may sum up as the Woman with a Gun’. Force, that potent means to power, is available to the gun user irrespective of age of sex, with a resulting ‘crucial alteration in the sexual politics of violence’. The Woman with a Gun can now be emphatically heroic – without duplicity, without deceitfulness, without subterfuge. Moral ambiguity in action has been abandoned. She becomes an unambiguous potent force – an armed woman faces an armed man on equal terms – physically, psychologically, morally. Equality offers the legal right and responsibility to kill in the name of patriotism. Modern culture has just caught up with Qui Jin.

(Abstract quoted from: Fan H, Mangan JA. J Hist Sport. 2001;18(1):27-54. doi: 10.1080/714001489.)

photography · poetry · writing

they dress

early springearly surprises

dreaming Spring calling arise

putting on best dress

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This picture was taken in the depth of Winter. A neighbor’s front yard was suddenly in blooms. Lovely surprises. In the winter of human lives too, we make efforts to rise from bed, take a bath, comb our hair, put on colors and dress up. Is any guest coming? We do not really consider that when we do this dressing ritual. Human keeps ritual to maintain hygiene and sanity. So do other living things. They are not exactly things. They are living. All living beings have a beauty ritual to keep. And these flowers decorate themselves faithfully in the short burst of sunlight for the brief period of a semblance of Spring time, in the amazing grace of their Creator. Why be a beast when you can be a beauty?

The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.
Bible promises · daughter of God · haiku · poetry · thoughts · travel

a face of winter: a haiku

green wintershe looks out the train

and sees a face of winter

clear and bright and green

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~on her way down west she looks out and sees a spectacular green view in the depth of winter. It is close to evening and the sun is shinning. The field on the plain gives fresh hope of a renewal at hand even on old ground and hardened crust. she knows her 83 years old mother is a fighter. She believes in God. She is not going to give up despite the fracture and replacement of some body parts. She smiles when she thinks of her new born baby granddaughter, a new life has burst forth like an early spring, again a sign of fresh determined hope. She looks forward to this reunion with her own mother. When her mother is well enough to be on her own again, she will travel east to meet with her husband, her youngest daughter and the baby grand daughter. She smiles. God is so good.

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

(Psalm 92:12-15)