Pearl River pigeon

Pearl River pigeon

My very dear friend feng37 is translating poetry again as he watches the bodies floating down the river.

So he translates poems from Chinese, an act of love and an act of homage to the writers, I’m guessing, and makes art. There’s so much happening in this one, between the characters and the paper and the river. I’ve put it all down here but go there to see it alongside the Chinese. And read here about the young migrant worker, Zheng Xiaoqiong, whose poem this is.

Paper Tiger

She’s a tiger on paper, or a rhetorical figure of speech
From the air, she sucks bodies dry, an illusionist’s symbol
Her shelter is a scream from the ashes, as eye-piercing as the setting sun
She’s concealed in the shade from a narcissus, sunset’s gentle sigh
She opens her mouth to speak the darkest sonant in a hush, the flesh of speech
A monstrosity among tigers, from its open mouth on the paper, between its teeth passes
The bright dusk of things past, the pumping sound of recollection
But it’s too slight, the sound as faint as the bug on the tree leaf
She’s too little, the rain’s too much, her fate like the humid thunder
Bringing in from afar a barenaked dusk or dawn
Whose sheens come from the tiger’s hard, pointy bones on paper
The sound of rain falls, we drink our liquor, the rain like the liquor pours over us
The rhetoric we so adore knocks us unconscious, leaves us among the beasts on the paper
The rain left to fall outside, how much does it wash away
The shyness of my youth, sigh, a tiger that’s ceased to exist
Rinsed away by the rain, it slowly left, towards the twilight

The beast on paper, a limpid planet, I will pass through the wall and leave
The wall in the air, it comes from a rusty place
The stooped tiger, slowly and silently rises up from the paper, its iridescence
Is the shadow in a word, a phrase, a poem, where there appears another
Tiger, its masculine muscularity, lush like a treetop, gives the paper
Vigor and cool shade, from up on the paper it looks down, then rushes toward the monsoon
It wants to look you in the eyes, its iridescence, like dense rain, weaves together
The nearby night flies off in fright, its eyes a bundle of remote blue light
Its hair points toward autumn’s escape, turning ashen and white
The tiger on paper, it makes no sound, just leaves tracks worth pursuing
It is a symbol or an allegory, the trees on paper begin to whither
It holds its head way up high, standing in a dry and scraggly patch of meadow, a colorful and vivid oil painting
But you cannot see its bones and its sprint, those tiger bones more solid than steel
Crouched in the dark, on the paper, bending, stretching, gathering strength
Like an exclamation, the blade of a knife piercing flesh or thought
This near nothingness of a beast, its tyranny, fills me with a feeling of being oppressed
From the paper I breathe in the inner panic it brings, still it grows
A tail much more distinct than the trees, its eyes and forehead hidden deep in the monsoon

Imagine a tiger on paper suddenly jumps up, bringing with it the sound of wind
In clarity, it presses close to my skin, the rain of a shadowy autumn day drifts down
Its senses are like a woman’s intuition, stubborn and sharp
The woman in the dark, on whatever page the tiger happens to be haunting, is calculating the moonlight
More vast than the night, in the bending of some sentence, the tiger leaves
Leaves almost imperceptible signs, the woman predicts the falling and flowing of light and flesh
The tiger on paper runs, through its deep-rooted misery
Its sharp teeth are polished smooth on mutiple lusts, one tiger and one woman
Bow to each other, like two boxers sizing each other up in the ring
The lights go bright, then go out, leaving the black ink to narrate
A tiger, it shifts, in the hidden woods, the tiger on paper drifts down
The dark red blood, red like truths are, a rain of thin wires
Rusting on the paper, creeps up like a drop of ink
In the green silence, a tiger is laid to rest in the whiteness of the paper

I’ve signed up for a short course on photo-etching at the end of the year and a slightly longer course on digital image making at the beginning of next year. I want to play with pictures and get them off the screen and onto paper. And plastic. And metal. And, oh, almost anything really. It’s scratching the itch to make things. The pigeon above is a first thought.

7 Replies to “Pearl River pigeon”

  1. I’ve done absolutely nothing at all. Shamefully un-arted. Had my last art lesson at the age of 14 and done nothing since. But it’s never too late to learn.

    I was looking for a photography course but there didn’t seem to be one that looked suitable… I’ve learnt so much by myself but at the same time know so little, but there didn’t seem to be anything designed to fill in the gaps.

    So I thought I’d carry on learning by trial and error with the camera itself and acquire some practical skills I couldn’t learn so easily by myself. I’m really excited by it all, the “thingyness” of it. Pictures on a screen are all very well but I almost never print them and rather want something to be able to give people other than via e-mail.

  2. Wow. Lovely. Jealous. Re what you said to Marja-Leena, have you looked into the courses at Photofusion? – they do more interesting stuff taught by individual photographers in accordance with their own interests from time to time, I think.

  3. It’s never too late to learn, yes, and this Photofusion sounds good! Though I’ve had art training, I’m mostly self-taught with digital processes, with a few tips from others learning at the same time. You have an excellent beginning with all your photography, rr. Have fun! I look forward to seeing your new explorations.

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