Literature in Translation: 〈事物〉 by 瓦歷斯.諾幹

“Objects” by Wǎlìsī Nuògàn

Poets say that poetry is an out-of-body experience….It is a state of tugging and pulling of the soul. When observing objects, you’ll notice that everything appears to be a reflection of your own self-centered ego. Scythes symbolize your eagerness to harvest your work, statues seem to embody your vulgarity and disdain toward the world,  flutes are in fact hollow tibia, and tombstones, well, let’s not even go there. It’s difficult to dig deeper into the meaning behind objects because what we see is often a reflection of ourselves, the same way history is a reflection of humanity. Even external experiences can stir up something within us, and there is no escape.

For more information about the author, please click here for his bio in Chinese.


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Vocabulary

  1. 事物 (shì wù)- Things, objects.
  2. 離散 (lísàn)– Separation.
  3. 不置可否 (bù zhì kě fǒu)- To show indifference; not agreeing nor disagreeing. 不: not. 置: place. 可: agreement. 否: disagreement.
  4. 鍛鍊字句 (duàn liàn zì jù)- 鍛鍊: training. 字句: words, expressions, writing.
  5. 本質 (běn zhì)- Nature, essence, innate character. 本: origin, root. 質: material.
  6. 拉扯 (lā che) Tug and pull.
  7. 不知天高地厚 (bù zhī tiān gāo dì hòu)- Literal: Oblivious to the sky’s limit and the earth’s deepness. Used to describe one’s arrogance and naiveness. 不知: doesn’t know. 天: sky. 高: high. 地: ground厚: thick; deep or profound .
  8. 慾望 (yù wàng)- Desire, longing.
  9. 雕像 (diāo xiàng)- Sculpture; (carved statue). 雕: to engrave, to carve. 像: figure, image.
  10. 猥瑣 (wěi suǒ)- Wretched, vulgar. 猥: cheap, vulgar, obscene. 瑣: fragmented.
  11. 睥睨 (bì nì)-  To look disdainfully out of the corner of one’s eye; to look down upon.
  12. 鐮刀 (lián dāo)- Scythe. 刀: knife.
  13. 墓碑 (mù bēi)- Gravestone; tombstone. 墓: grave. 碑: monument; an upright stone tablet.
  14. 長笛 (cháng dí)- Flute.
  15. 脛骨(jìng gǔ)- Tibia. 脛: lower part of the leg. 骨: bone.
  16. 卒讀 (zú dú)- To finish reading. 卒: to finish. 讀: reading.
  17. 遁逃 (dùn táo)- To escape.

*Original piece published in 《二行詩》筆記/事物 in United Daily News (聯合報) on November 21, 2011.

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