Size / / /

CONTENT WARNING:


Circling the halo of candlelight,

night moths dance in wretched repetition.

These reincarnated spirits from Buddha’s kingdom can’t recall

the insects already dead, the leaves yet to die.  

 

Moths are said to be napping kinfolk,

soaring across steep mountains, soaring across cloudy trees,

to soothe us in our misfortunes.

Or else the dead ones who miss us,

pulled by memories, returning from the hushed netherworld. 

 

But I see myself in the moths, 

for their colorful vast velvety wings 

have overtaken my shadow, 

abandoned it in grave darkness. 

All for one conviction, not a fantasy, 

but that day I became a phoenix.

 

夜 蛾

 

绕着蜡烛的圆光,

夜蛾作可怜的循环舞,

这些众香国的谪仙不想起 

已死的虫,未死的叶。

 

说这是小睡中的亲人, 

飞越关山,飞越云树,

来慰藉我们的不幸,

或者是怀念我们的死者,

被记忆所逼,离开了寂寂的夜台来。

 

我却明白它们就是我自己,

因为它们用彩色的大绒翅

遮覆住我的影子,

让它留在幽暗里。

这只是为了一念,不是梦,

就像那一天我化成凤。 

 



Dai Wangshu (1905-1950) was a poet, editor, translator, and leading figure in the Chinese modernist literature movement. With an interest and education in French literature, he was influenced by the work of French Neo-symbolist poets such as Paul Fort and Francis Jammes, as well as ancient Daoist texts and Tang dynasty verse. His writing blends archaic allusions and diction with modern poetics to explore universal themes such as love, death, and nostalgia.