Improvisations on a Poem


The title in Chinese could also mean 'Free Thinking on Poetry' rather than 'a Poem', but we decided to stick with the latter, both because the poem itself refers to a poem in the singular (twice) and because of its light-hearted, playful tone: 'Improvisations on Poetry' immediately sounds portenteous.

After much discussion, we left the gerunds in the first stanza ('crushing', 'seeping', etc) exactly as they are in the Chinese as their 'awkwardness' was an integral part of the feeling of the poem.

Cliffs, as you will know, don't really 'melt': but that was the word in Chinese (the word you'd use for ice-cream melting) and, in Chinese, it also has the feeling of being a dream - in which melting cliffs are quite commonplace, of course.

A delightfully quirky, delicately erotic poem which we enjoyed translating.

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