Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Cowherd and Vega

Pre-Qin Tale (Qi Xi Festival)

Rewritten by Laijon Liu (2007.08.22)

Part 1: Two Lovers met

Long ago, there was a cowherd.
He had an old cow and a broken furrow.
He went out to farm everyday, just after dawn,
and came back home every night, after dusk.
After his work, he must cook and do laundry.
He lived a very hard life.
But he was a hardworking young man,
and never lost his courage.

But one day, he came home,
entered the door and found out
his room was cleaned and his clothes were washed,
and there, on his table, a delicious meal was ready and still warm!

The Cowherd opened wide his eyes
and questioned himself: “What happened?!
An Angel visited my home?!”
Anyway, he was very hungry, so he ate the meal.

After that day, same thing
happened to him everyday.
And he was very confused
and deeply bothered by this.
So he decided to find out
the answer behind as
picking a stone out of stream.

One day, he got up early as always,
walked out the door on to his work.
But after a few steps, he turned back,
quickly went back to his house,
and hid outside his house where
no one could see him, there he was
peeking into his room.

Yeah, just after a while,
there came a beautiful lady!

She had
Small white-grass fingers,
Milky and creamy scented skin,
Gorgeous swan-liked neck,
Long and stunning legs,
Silky dark cloud of her hair
Could not block her ocean eyes,
Rose lips covered
Her white corn teeth,
Her white designer's cloth was not earthly
(Inspired by Shi Jing/Book of Odes)

What a beautiful angel!
A true Miss Universe!
She walked into his house and
started cooking and cleaning!

The Cowherd could not wait,
stepped into his house and asked:
“Lady, would you please tell me why
you help me do such work?”
The lady was started, felt embarrassing,
replied him in a tiny voice with flushing:
“My name is Vega.
I saw you doing all these works,
and without a helper.
So I came and helped you a little.”

The Cowherd heard, and felt so happy,
fell in a exceedingly blossoming joy.
And he hurried asked Vega:
“Then please stay with me,
we be together in bitterness and sweetness,
and use our hands to build our happy life!”

And Vega nod her head with flushing.
So they were married as husband and wife,
“The man furrows and the woman sews”,
together they started their happy life.

Part 2: Love cannot be separated

Seven years later, they had two children,
One girl and one boy, what a happy family!

One afternoon, the cowherd was in the field,
Ploughing the earth,
suddenly the sky changed his face,
Into darkling color.
Gloomy clouds, gushing wind storms,
Thunders, bolts, beating rain drops,
Earth lost her calmness,
Covered in dancing dusts,
Trees were shaking violently…

The cowherd was so scared,
and trembling in fear.
And he ran back to his house.
There was no sight of Vega,
Only his two children were crying on the floor.
He held his two children in his arms,
And did not know what to do.

Suddenly, sunlight shined upon earth again,
Clouds were swept away, rain stopped,
Wind found his usual course,
And the sky was in his blue face again.
Vega opened the door, stepped in
With sorrowful look on her face.

She held cowherd’s hand,
And hugging her children, said:
“I am not from common family,
I lived in heavens, not on earth.
The empress of celestial palace is my grandma,
And now she sent her servants here
to bring me back to where I came from.
I must go with them, otherwise
She will not give peace to earth.
So goodbye, take care each other,
I will look upon you from heaven,
And one day we will be together.”

Then she cried a desperate cry,
Her bitter tears rained upon her children’s face.
After, she walked out alone,
ascended into a tiny cloud, was gone.

The cowherd watched and listened
All these, a sudden blow to his heart,
Fell in blank, still could not believe,
And was sitting on the ground,
Held his children, yet could not hear
Their crying, and knew not what to do.

After a long while, he stood up,
And yelled out:
“I cannot let my wife leave me!
I cannot let my children lose their mom!
I must leave home to find her!
I must find my wife Vega!”
But he was much troubled,
That his two children were too young,
And how could people live on earth
Find a way to ascend to heaven?

He was deeply troubled and frustrated.
Suddenly he heard a low voice:
“Don’t be troubled, my friend.
You can make two baskets
To carry your children on your way;
I am a holy cow, put on my skin,
Drink my blood, and eat my body,
and I will lift you up, you may fly
To where you want to go,
from Earth to Heaven.
I was born for this time and purpose.”

The cowherd turned his head,
Looked at his old cow, and was surprised,
That his old cow just talked to him!
“Holy Cow!”

How could he raise his dagger
Against his friend, companion?
He loved his old friend.
The cowherd refused.
But his old cow insisted,
And stopped eating and drinking,
Or even speaking!

After three days, the old cow grew weaker.
The cowherd was out of solution.
So he took his dagger,
walked to his old pal,
and held the dagger in shaking hand,
his eyes were drowning in tears,
his heart was beating in pain,
yet he did not say a word,
kissed his old pal in the head.

And his old pal stood in peace,
was also in tears,
looked at the cowherd for the last time,
and shut her eyes.
She did not speak a word,
for she was afraid
that her voice would change the cowherd's mind.

And there the cowherd held up his dagger,
put the blade under her neck,
pulled his dagger,
cut off his old pal's throat.
There the old cow fell in silence.
"Holy Cow!"

So, the cowherd did what his old cow told him.
Thereafter, all cows cry and shed tears
when they get butchered.

After the cowherd completed his old cow's will,
and there he and his children flied,
From their yard to the sky,
Carried by cloud they flowed into heavens.
They entered into the celestial palace,
Stood in front the empress of celestial palace.

The empress was an unreasonable ageless angel,
Very proud queen with stereotype.
She disliked the cowherd, judged him
By his look, skin and his cover,
And ignored his truthful heart and mind.

Because since Heaven and earth were created,
Waters were made in between them to cleanse,
And to also separate common and holy.
Angels in heavens do not marry down
To the mortal people live on earth,
Just like beautiful swans flying in skies
Never listen to the song of frogs in the pond.

The Empress must keep the order,
So she figured out a way to refuse the cowherd,
Her son in Law on earth.
And she said to the cowherd:
“I have seven beautiful daughters,
I do not know which of my daughters
Were in love and marriage with you.
But I will order them
To stand in front of you.
If you can tell who is your Vega,
Then I will let you bring her home.”

The cowherd knelt down
In tears and bowed his head,
Thanked the empress, said: “yes!”

After a while, all seven daughters
Came and stood in front of the cowherd,
With all their faces covered by veil.
What a trick!
The cowherd was confused.
At the same moment, his two children
In a same voice called out,
jumped out of their baskets,
and ran toward their mom.

“Oh my, nothing separates children and their mom!”
the empress just realized.
And she quickly gave an order
Had her guards dragged Vega away
To the far heavens.
She abandoned her word.

The cowherd saw that, in rush he
put his children into his baskets,
and started chasing Vega,
without tiredness, hunger, nor thirst.
Because man is filled
only by pursuing his love.

The empress watched.
The cowherd ran closer and closer.
And Vega could almost see her children’s faces.

The empress was in deep anger,
Drew out her silver magic hairpin,
Stroke a long line in between
The cowherd and Vega.

The long line became a stream,
The stream became a silver river,
Filled by billions stars in heavens,
Named “The Milky Way”.

From that time to today,
the couple were separated by this,
they could only stand on each side
and look at each other.

But soon after, their love story
Was heard everywhere on earth,
and moved the spirits of magpie.
So every year, on seventh day of July
of the traditional calendar,
all the magpies on earth join together,
fly into the Milky Way,
and build a long love bridge.
And the cowherd and Vega and their family
Meet, reunite, and remind people on earth
With their love story and vow.

Author's Note:

People walk in world do ask one question:
Why Love is above all things worth?
That pursuers risk their life and in death search;
Immortal angels descend, and common rise;
Heaven and earth are the same in one place;
Even birds and beasts are in one speech?
Loyal friends serve each other with swords;
Flesh and spirits unite for a single purpose;
Even worlds apart but couple still bridges;
Old gossip becomes some yearly rituals?
For youngster to mature and be please,
Even all generations treasure such unseen faith.
We do not know, but we can only believe,
That all fairy tales may help us to achieve.

Fairy On The Magpie Bridge
Song Dynasty. Qin Guan

Mending clouds playing thoughts,
Crossing stars messaging griefs,
Through the dark vast Milky Way
we came across from far away.

Our meeting as morning dew in autumn winds,
But it surpassed all common reunions on earth.

Tenderly our feelings streaming flow,
And a good date in our dreams glow,
How can I turn away from the magpie bridge
to the returning road?

If the love of two forever lasts,
Then does it matter
that we can't abide days and nights?


Friday, August 24, 2007

Shi Jing 45 Floating Boat

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Section: Songs of Yong State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.24)

The cypress boat in current she floats,
In the center of river she roves.
The lad with the tufts hairdo
Is just the one I really admire;
I swear, till death there won’t be no other.
But, oh Heaven, oh mother!
Why don’t you understand me!

The cypress boat in current she floats,
To the bank of river she perches.
The lad with the tufts hairdo
Is just the one my heart matches;
I swear, till death I won’t change my mind.
But, oh Heaven, oh mother!
Why don’t you sympathize me!

The poet might be a young teenage girl who loved some young lad, but she could not do anything about it, coz her mother already decided for her. She compared herself as a boat that goes to the direction carried by the river current. And She might be married to someone who is not as young as lovely as “The lad with the tufts hairdo”. The boat in center of river she floats to where her heart goes, but she must perch on the bank (maybe forced) as love and marriage serves the purpose of security, reality. Jeez, it is really difficult to choose for our daughters’ marriage: A musician (basically a beggar, or drunk, drug addict, but much poetic and artistic or even profound, usually young and always cool); or a politician (a successor in both finance and status through oil and drug or strong arm business, a shameless liar and poor actor, often aging and always subtle) But thank God, now our parents cannot choose.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Shi Jing 35 Streaming Wind

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.19)

Screaming, screeching, the streaming wind,
It is cloudy, rainy, and gloomy sky.
Husband and wife shall encourage each other,
They should not have any angers and blame.
As if we gather cabbages and radishes,
That we shall not throw away their roots.
Let us not forget our graceful words:
“Be with you together until our death!”

As I walked on my road slowly,
But my feet and heart are in disagreeing.
I do not wish you to go with me for long,
But I never expected you just stopped by the door.
Who said the edible plant is so bitter?
But to me it is sweet as shepherd's purse.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
And you two are so close and brotherly.

River Wei joins into river Jing, defiled her surface,
But the bottom of river Jing is still very clear.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
But please stop saying that I am unclean.
Please do not come to my fishing dam,
Please do not lift up my fishing baskets.
Even you do not respect my faithfulness,
Who would care about my name and family?

Marriage is river where is too deep,
Then we shall cross it in a boat.
Marriage is river where is shallow,
Then we shall swim to across it.
If we really lack or need anything,
Then we shall seek it in strength and heart.
Even our neighbor meet any disaster,
We offer our hands in crawling or running.

If you really do not love me I understand,
But why you look at me as if I’m your enemy.
All my love and grace you never accepted,
As if I’m junk that no one is willing to bid.
Our past life were in suffering of poverty,
We supported each other to overcome all troubles.
Now your life is in a good and easy shape,
But you compare me to a venomous insect.

I am like a preserved dry vegetable you stored,
That just for you to get pass the winter season.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
But please do not use me to prevent poverty,
Please stop venting and ranting at me.
Please do not force me into any heavy labor.
All our past love and goodwill are forgotten,
And your grace and my love are gone and vanished.

The poet might be a wife who lived with her husband for some difficult and suffering time. And after their life got better, her husband found new love and abandoned her, married a young girl, and despised his old/first wife, and used his wife as his slave or servant or something. I really felt her paining. And I decided not to look or support for polygamy marriage. If I need to battle my wife for whole life, then to death I will fight with or against her like the TV show: “Everybody loves Raymond”. :-)
This poem is for every wife.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shi Jing 31 Banging Drum

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Dynasty: Eastern Zhou
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.16)

Banging the drum, dang, dang, dang,
Eager soldiers raise their arms.
They all fortify our citadel and canals,
But I follow my regiment to the south.

I serve my general Sun Zi Zhong,
To make peace for State of Chen and Song.
For our engagement that I cannot return,
So I am in worry and anxiety.

Where I shall look for shelters?
Where I will find my horse?
And how I should search?
Maybe the answer is hiding in the woods.

“Our vow is beyond death and life”,
I and you are together I always remembered.
I will hold your hand,
And together we grow old.

Too pitiful we are faraway apart,
The distance separates us to meet again!
Too miserable this takes forever,
And it does not let us fulfill our vow!

The poet may be an elite soldier of State of Wei.
He followed his general Sun Zi Zhong served near the border of State of Chen and Song (two states were in conflict), and stayed there. He was anxiously waiting for the order to return to his home there his wife was. And during the operation, he lost his horse, which was a desperate situation (horses in ancient time carried soldier supply and weapons, are life companion for soldiers in advance or retreat), he lost his horse, his supply, maybe his armor and weapons, and the road he was facing that he may lose his life so he may never go back. In all these mess, he started searching, and somehow at this hopeless moment he started to revisit his happiest moment, when he together vowed in marriage ceremony with his wife, and he was even afraid that he might never see his love again.
The end of our life, reminds us the true happy moment, experience, value... Confucius said:" At the end of man's life, his words are graceful; At the death of a bird, his song is in grievous tone.

It is unfair to put anyone in such situation: "To kill or to be killed".
The poet's questions are common for everyone in desperate time, when we cannot run away and our future is in other people's decision. When nations or states look for honour, justice, righteousness, peace... their actions and methods often fall into violence. So commons' life, happiness and value are at stake, become sacrifice of their leaders' faith and belief. So the poet asked "Where I shall look for shelters? Where I will find my horse(his life companion)? How I should find?" And "Maybe the answer is hiding in the woods." He might be thinking to seek a way out, that to hide in the forest, away from society?

And His last statement for his true value is his home, his love, his fulfillment of his vow is his true duty. Hero's duty is to pursue love.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Shi Jing 29 Sun and moon

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Dynasty: Eastern Zhou
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.14)

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
Your great lights shining upon earth.
But I have never seen such man,
Who forgot his home and course.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
And why he refuses to come into my room?

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
Your great lights shining upon earth.
But I have never seen such man,
Who forgot my love and grace.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
Why he leaves me alone in my empty room?

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
Your great lights shining upon earth.
But I have never seen such man,
Who lost his honor and Heaven’s bliss.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
And I should forget him, away with sorrow.

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
You rise from east with shining rays.
Ah- my daddy and my mommy,
My husband loves me no more.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
And I will not suffer in sorrow any more!

The poet may be a young and just married wife lived in State of Wei. She complained about her husband that stopped loving her. And she eventually thinks wisely that “Anyway he does not keep his vow, so she gives up her sorrow, or maybe seeks a new beginning.”

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Poem of Earth and Her Seasons

Just My Random Thoughts

Part I (2007.07.26)

Autumn is disappeared,
Spring is also vanished.

Trees do not stand in flame any more,
Grass tossed away their olive dress,
Fruits are thirsty and hang in tiny shapes.
What’s left is just winter and summer.
Winter without white snow,
And summer of burning sun.

I still remembered of the past,
When I was little, and there…

Seasons were my friends and family.
Each of them visited me periodically.
They came comely and left gently,
And brought me their unique gifts bountifully.

Wind sang His song tenderly
to accompany each their steps,
and Earth dressed up on time
in Her famous designer’s clothes,
fashionable, and enticing with tease.
All Her children played in sunshine,
And lived joyfully in a living dance.

White clouds moved above the skies,
As the spindrift of billow in the oceans,
Cleaned the wings of eagles and swans.
Even the petal shirt of flowers were moistened,
And nourished in rainy drops of bliss.

Moon smiled at me every nite,
Her beauteous face shined her lite,
altered in unchangeable timing tide,
varied in her inimitable shape and line,
revealed her mood of full and undine.

Stars shooting in the deep oceans,
With their glittering eyes in sparking,
Some stayed forever and some played and hid.
They witnessed and held the truth,
For billion and billion years testimony.

But now,
Spring threw away her green dress,
She refused to come.
Autumn did not stay very long,
Coz she lost her jam.

Summer rushed in every year, very early,
With her unbearable heating sun.
All my flowers hunched their back,
And each of them lowered their heads.

Winter seemed lost her peaceful mind,
And out of control for sometime;
She gave Earth no rest.
She tore up Her white long coat,
Holding all the pieces,
and swinging them in midair back and forth.
She screamed, yelled, and mourned,
And her icy tears dropped on the ground,
So cold-

I did not know
why she lost her peace.
It looked like I offended her
with an unforgivable fault.

So I looked into my mind,
And in my sleep I searched deeply...

Part II (2007.07.27)

There, in the window of my living room,
I saw a little boy figure
Walked haltingly
Against the violent freezing wind.
Snow covered his passing footprints,
And wind welcomed him in His harsh will.
The boy bent forward and bowed his head,
And his figure was smaller even more,
Shivering in the blizzard storm.

I glanced at my small fireplace,
Enough branches filled its side,
And a weak flame dancing in it
with a calm and luxury motion.

Outside, a different world-
Winter waved her torn white coat,
And shouting incomprehensibly in rage.

But the boy seemed overly stubborn,
Or maybe lack of intellect,
Continually wrestled against wind
In each his step and tiny footprints.

Suddenly, wind slowed down His rhythm,
And winter stopped her insanity,
Dropped her coat, started panting,
As if she was tired and needed a rest
To regain her energy for next round.

The boy fell upon the snow, was sitting,
And very tired.
He looked into the skies and asked:

“Are you angry, or mad?
Did you lose your peace?
When the people on earth can have rest? ”

Winter did not answer,
Yet gave the boy no attention,
Still kept her panting.

But wind blew in slow note,
Smoothly in an easy stream of spring
As I heard in the past.

His vocal tone vibrated in slightest sound.
I shut my eyes, and listened…

A great song, an old tale:

Part III (2007.08.18 )

Long ago, I slept in a deep vanity
And my thought as water it flowed:
Ha- in silence I heard a mighty blow,
And in darkness I saw light thru smoke.

Earth, a pitiful woman sat in flame,
In agony she endured her birth pangs.
Sizzling skin of her covered in blister,
Burning magma spilled from her scars,
Poison gas sprayed from her every cell.

Her body quaked, trembled, shook;
Her muscle collapsed and fell in pieces;
Her eyes were dry and lifeless,
Her heart suffered in stokes and storms.
She cried, screamed, yelled… for hope.

One day she lost all her strength,
and gave up all her efforts, fell
in a deep peaceful sleep.

In her dream she saw:

A girl dreamt an unreal dream,
She saw herself cured and healed
In a long silent night’s rest,
She saw her dressed a flowery cloth,
Dancing in the song of wind.
She saw her grew up in sunshine…
A beautiful lady was dancing
With a good-looking young man.

But I did not hear her man’s name,
Nor His handsome face I did see

I could only guess or search or waiting
Or believe maybe,
Maybe tomorrow I would know,
Or one day He might come and tell me…

So I waited, as earth waited for Him.