The new issue of Asymptote is now live, featuring sections of my translation of “Taj Mahal Tears” 泰姬陵之泪 by Ouyang Jianghe 欧阳江河.
Tears about to fly. Do they have eagle wings
or take a Boeing 767, taking off on
an economic miracle? Three thousand km of old tears, from Beijing
to New Delhi skies
just like that. After time flies, can the double exposed
red and white of our minds’ oriental archaeologies
match the supersonic, withstand
sudden turbulence? Can we borrow eagle eyes to watch the sunset
dissolve inside a jellyfish like mica?
This publication also includes my translator’s note:
The poem is, of course, about the tears that fill relationships between men and women, but it is also about the relationship between god or gods and man as well as the relationship between India and China—not to mention both countries’ relationships to their histories. Parts of the poem take place in, and take advantage of, the vocabulary of fungibility and modernity; other parts excavate an archaeology of historical lexicons, including Buddhist terminology and a broad scope of literary and cultural allusion. As a translator, I had in mind the English of a handful of poets known as practitioners of ethnopoetics, investigating the deep recesses of the self at the same time as the wide resources of the planet. As Ouyang writes, “the mirror image glances back.”
Click on the image for the full excerpt