Sunday, March 15, 2009

Poetry by Ma Lan: muslim grandmother 回族外婆

muslim grandmother
Translation by Martin Winter

muslim grandmother standing outside the light far away
her clothes are kind and beautiful
in the last lonely winter of the fifties
she died lonely from famine and
hanging on trees were dead crows, an interesting contrast
outside are such enchanting orchids
when I think of my muslim grandmother
life goes through samsara, grandmother
under the plum blossom tree, the girls from the banquet
having stepped on your, the bones
people guarding the coffin singing
strange incantations, my grandmother
the years annotating the changing landscape
but running away is the sunlight, the sunlight explodes
i am walking at night at the t-intersection, straining my ears
to understand the secrets of crows
my muslim maternal grandmother
green bracelets come dangling, the robes and the wine
a lady of standing, a rich merchant's wife
i have no way to resolve this death and the karma
but i am still beautiful oh my grandmother
i am sleepy right now
you are within my sights, through the earth and the sky
we come from a faraway place, blossoms open and fall
grandmother standing behind me, motionless
the plum blossoms on her underwear cannot take up her weight
my grandmother who died from hunger
a giant fate leans on the wall
dust, wilfully blowing around your grave
grandmother, karma is there
like ramadan coming and going
who is mine, the man striking root in the wind
my muslim grandmother

(Where to sit?) 2004, p.54

No comments: