Layman poetry

Reading "Blood Sacrifice" by Layman

Reading “Blood Sacrifice” by Layman

 

This summer I spent some time with an interesting writer. His name is Leiman (“Layman” in English), a highly successful entrepreneur, business executive, engineer, inventor–the list of occupational identity labels could go on. Most recently, though, which is to say since he turned the age of 60 five years ago, he focused in making a name as a poet.

In early September Leiren was in town for the Boao Forum, an annual event usually held in Hainan but this year taking place in Seattle. Leiren was one of the attendees, and the list of speakers is certainly an impressive bunch (Governor to Bill Gates himself). Leiren’s contribution, meanwhile, is the following poem. We read the poem the poem, along with some others later in the week at the Art Rhythm art exhibition held at the Ryan James Gallery where the photograph above was taken.

 

 

 

Blood Sacrifice for Humanity

——To The Boao Forum for Asia Seattle, 2014

人类文明血祭——诗致2014博鳌亚洲论坛

 

Yiou-Yiou-

悠悠

Humanity!

人类

Yiou-Yiou-

悠悠

Vicissitudes

万年

Woohoo — humanity

呜呼,人类

Woohoo —  Alas!

呜呼,哀哉

 

All war

所有的战争

Is

都是

The war of rulers

统治者的战争

All defeat

所有的亡国

Is

都是

the defeat of rulers

统治者的亡国

All independence

所有的独立

Is

都是

A ruler’s independence

统治者的独立

 

Whether

无论是

For conquest

为了拓疆

Or

还是

Defense

为了守土

Whether for

无论是

New doctrine

新教

Or

还是

Old doctrine

老教

 

People

平民

Everywhere

在哪儿

Are all

都是

Heads lowered

低着头

and bent at the waist

弯着腰

 

*****

 

Still water makes no current

水平不流

War after punitive war

征战不止

 

The strong win; the weak die

优胜劣汰

Dynasties come and go

改朝换代

 

Humanity

Lacking leadership

无头

Goes nowhere.

不走!

 

Birds

Lacking a leader

无头

Don’t fly!

不飞!

 

Civilizations

文明

Start naked

从赤裸

Sprout leaves, then

到树叶,再

Come the robes

到长袍

And then, after robes

再,从长袍

Comes BIKINI; and then

到三点式,再

Naked again

到赤裸

 

From

Knives and spears

大刀长矛

To

Guns and A-bombs

枪炮核弹

 

From

Cold weapons to

冷兵器到热兵器

Hot weapons

再从

And from

热战

Hot wars to

Cold wars

冷战

 

And now

而现在

Still hot and

依然热

Still cold

依然冷

 

Civilization

文明

Blood-stained through

一路血迹斑斑

Civilization

文明

All swaggering braggart

一路狰狞招摇

 

Wherefore civilization?

何以文明?

Civilization wherefore?

文明何以?

 

Boundless, the sea of bitterness

苦海无边

But the shore is there, if you look back

回头是岸

 

Human beings

人类

Are no more than

不过是

The ink

书写人类文明史的

Of human history

墨汁

 

Civilizations

文明

Are no more than

不过是

The last breath

人类和人类史的

Of the humans

延喘

And their history

 

Between

The cracks of thunder and lightning

雷电交加的缝隙里

Light all-encompassing

普世的阳光

Manages

得以

To emerge

泄下

 

Bronze is cast into cauldrons

青铜铸鼎

Iron, crafted into cannon

铁器造炮

 

Steam

蒸汽蒸开一个活塞的时代

Steams up an age of pistons

电火花

Sparks electric

点燃了

Have ignited

国界

The borders of nations

 

The PC

PC

Makes the Earth

让地球

Flat

扁平

 

*****

 

Human civilization

人类文明

Is a strongbox

是一个保险柜

Opened

For the first Time

华盛顿

By

第一个

Washington

打开

 

Ever since

从此

The Sun

太阳

Is Apollo no more

不再是太阳神

The Sun

太阳

Is becoming

成了

Sunlight’s tool

阳光的工具

 

Two centuries since

200年之后

One and all

一股脑儿

Out comes

走出来

Mahatma Gandhi

圣雄甘地

Out comes

走出来

Chiang Ching-kuo

蒋经国

Out comes

走出来

Mandela

曼德拉

Out comes

走出来

Gorbachev

戈尔巴乔夫

There’s also

还有

The King of Bhutan

不丹的国王

Who will be the next?

下一个是谁?

 

Community

根申国

Is

是一个

A chorus

大合唱

Who will be

下一个

The

大合唱

Next

Chorus?

谁?

 

*****

 

Science is a treasure-trove

科学的宝藏里

Of inexhaustible treasures

有取之不尽的宝藏

 

Air

空气

Can become grain

可以变成粮食

Sea water

海水

Can become oil

可以变成油

 

You, Sir

只要

Need only

Agree

To bend a bit

弯一弯腰

Need only

只要

Sir

Agree

To think a bit

用一用脑

Why is it

为什么

Some people

有的人

Always

总是

Whet their knives

磨刀霍霍

Gazing

盯着

At other people’s cake?

别人盘子里的蛋糕?!

 

Stop the blood stench of five millennia

不要再用5000年的血腥

From expanding our desires.

鼓胀我们的欲望

 

We have to use the bloody spots

我们要用斑斑的血斑

To shine

擦亮

Our

我们

Truly-civilized eyes

真正文明的眼睛

To be a World Citizen

做世界人民

 

 

 

 

雷人  作/译written and translated by Layman Lei

revised by Paul Manfredi

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