CHUA HOCK MENG


CHUA Hock Meng is a Chinese-language poet whose poem here has been translated by
Gaston Ng and edited by Cyril Wong. The latter met Chua during a six-month writing
workshop at an institute in Singapore for the homeless with psychiatric needs, where Chua
presently resides. Cyril was asked by the poet to help find a translator for his work.






Dark Nights

1.
Tea as bland as an enlightened being; tears are the raindrops of yesteryear.
Tang Bohu's cherry blossom fan is dearer than amber; failed candidates are worse than dogs.
Tears cultivate into lofty stars, betrayed by lightning and thunder.


2.
Tonight, the begonia does not cry; Ming jade is warm.
I am a blossoming old tree, withered wood that has met rain.
I am hell burning for vegetarian meals and ritual dew.

3.
Dipping into rogue and painting crimson; calligraphy brush strokes bleed profusely into paper.
Bitterly cold tongues roll into the annals of changing winds, tumbling through the clouds.
An understanding, unverified, of the intentions of Heaven; philosophy employed to act out the cold bitterness of Fate.
Using death, which has yet to die, to create the grand achievements of life.

4.
Remembering my debut into the literary scene, you were my guardian, the guiding beacon on my ship's bow.
I do not dare to forget you, or your miracles as a student on the righteous path.

5.
An armored rose, it does not cry; it grows in wind and rain, blooming in thunderstorms. Sunset is its gloriously quiet tears, withering is its iron will. A hundred years cannot destroy its agility and bravery; till the ocean transforms into mulberry fields. Wounds precipitate to form a large gasp.

6.
Only incense cauldrons are as heavy as Mt Tai. Broken cliffs, dripping a blow of deep sigh.
Hazardous rocks, cold springs, foaming oceans, rising to deflect the guerrilla attacks by bone-piercing winds; that cauldron, isn't that precisely the broad strokes of misery.
Earth began with nothing; a single, waylaid thought will plague all life.

7.
There's a compassionate vessel, navigating across Buddha's eye and heart.
Crashing waves fill the ears; the moon is white and winds are light. We awake as if to another life, beds covered in wafts of incense.
In the universe, a lonely horsecart quietly rolls along in its journey to Nirvana.

8.
When life is pushed to the edge, I use my palm, solemn as a Buddha mountain, to unveil the sickly, scrawny body of Fate.
In the dark night, in despair, a petal of snow floats hopefully.

9.
Waves crash fiercely against walls of an empty city, like loneliness roaring. Across a thousand rivers, the moon prevails across pine trees.
Poetic swords might clash nobly in numbers, but mortal desires are omnipresent. We mock not at vanity, but at meditation.
I sharpen my blade for a decade, malnourished for the sake of poetry.
Like a goose floating idly in deep, cold waters: who can understand me?
From northern lands to southern skies, there must be a boat willing to host me.

10.
When many great men disappear, all that is left are jokes of half cities and rivers of blood.
As your king, I had the courage to build an empire of glory, but not the bravery to confront my conscience.
I am ignorant but guilty; only the earth and poets are truly noble.



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