Poems

do not fear heights


taking cigarette[s] go onto balcony | jump off building
or taking {{jumping off building
}}-notion
}-go out onto balcony | smoke cigarette[s]
fifth floor not at all high
time of death can only be on first floor
live any higher up
cannot be afraid
in reality I am living very well
every day will always {with
people living on the first floor}-say hello
 

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Comments (2)

Dave Haysom

Hi William,
If you check out the literal translation, you’ll see that I originally had it as “will always”, but the “will” got smoothed out in the final version. It’s sometimes ambiguous as to whether 要 is expressing a desire for something to happen (我要吃饭: I want to eat), or the likelihood of something happening (要下雨: it’s going to rain) – but the particular construction 每(个...) 都要 suggests to me that the latter is more likely here!
– Dave

William Locke IV

Great poem and translation! I just discovered this site via Pathlight: New Chinese Writing at Paper Republic, and am really glad I did! I have one question about the finished translation. The final two lines of the poem are:

每天都要跟
住在一楼的人打招呼

every day I say hello to my neighbors
on the ground floor

However, my first thought on reading 每天都要。。。 was to translate it as “every day I want to…” Is there some clue in the text that tells you 要 in this line should be understood as something the narrator does as opposed to something the narrator wants to do?

Thanks for the wonderful reading!

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