Enoch Ng Kwang Cheng; translations by Yeo Wei Wei
Enoch Ng Kwang Cheng is a poet, literary translator and publisher. Since 1997, Ng has been at the helm of firstfruits publications. In 2005 he won the Golden Point Award for Chinese Poetry. In 1991 his first book of poems were awarded Best First Book by the Taiwanese literary journal “The Modernist”. His poetry has been featured in journals in Singapore, India, Malaysia and Taiwan, and anthologized in China and Singapore. Ng is one of the awardees of the Singapore National Arts Council Arts Creation Fund 2009.
Yeo Wei Wei is a teacher, literary translator, and writer. Her interest in translation began during her PhD in English at the University of Cambridge. Her translations have recently been published or are forthcoming in journals in India, Taiwan, and the U. S. She is currently working on a translation volume of Enoch Ng Kwang Cheng’s poems (to be published in 2010). She lives in Singapore.
Munches a few lines
Tasty leaves for its repast
Lining the walls of its cocoon
With the uneaten parts of the poem –
Therein and whence
From Family Matters
1. lamp light
After the flood recedes
foreheads red as fire
a sliver of moon
To stay is to settle down, a lifetime:
time spies on mice in the distance
with watchful cat eyes
2. circus act
on the steel wire of fancy
calibrates the ancestors’
floods follow suit
the night the revolution ended
stepping on stones
the generalissimos cross the river, returning
raw oysters for dinner
peking opera for company
black cat white cat
hunt in vain for mice
地表, 板块, 土拨鼠: 松动的日子
the police siren makes familiar rounds
through the seed grooves of an afternoon.
thus the blue sky surveys:
a ball rolls from one end of the court to the other, after class.
mushrooms, newborn after the rain,
daintily lead the eye and mind astray.
these days of unwinding, a palpable reprieve tingling soil and sundry:
earth’s surface, tectonic plates, groundhog.
moments, perhaps, for spectatoring and speculation:
chrysanthemum flowers, bursts of moistened jade, bloom and fade, just so.
Portrait of My Father
In the twilight years
His face bloomed into chrysanthemums.
The eyes that crossed the South China Sea
Were weaned off the tides.
The ears followed still the trail of nature’s sounds.
The nose, buried deep in the legend of the butterfly lovers,
The mouth spoke loudly without words.
Time and again his brows made the mad flight
Flailing again and again
before the barbed wire fence,
exiled by the barbed wire fence,
from the land over there.
急急急带雨: 床在异地, 前世是码头
高人江湖满地, 踢踏过唐人街, 已是中年
Remembering Du Fu
– in memory of the time spent with Boey Kim Cheng in Sydney
After the wind died down, ruins rose from the water.
The rain poured, making haste, making haste:
our beds are remote from home; our past lives, a quay.
Sprawling behind the mind is the sky –
while we who have no care, we clouds blazing through wind and fire,
what care have we for the masters? Already there are too many in the world –
enough that Chinatown was our playground until middle age caught us playing truant.
Marking the rise and ebb of monkey cries, man leans to rest and the horizon slants.
Ranting and raving along the borderlines of winter;
The pained skull shelters a piece of porcelain, perfection no less.
In July 2006 I was in Sydney for the launch of Boey Kim Cheng’s book After The Fire: New and Selected Poems. It was a holiday as well as a work trip for me. We spent quite a lot of time traveling by car and we listened to his CDs of Du Fu’s poems.