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  • Thank you

  • I was planning to

  • Read the poem I prepared for you

  • At five thirty-five the time the moon rises

  • It seems that we had passed the time

  • But I think the moon is rising now

  • Then I shall read this poem at the time of moon rise

  • the time when the moon is most beautiful and fullest

  • In the year

  • I shall read this poem to you

  • At the time of moon rise

  • I be the Rhododendrons that cover the mountains

  • Just for a spring of no regret

  • I be the stars

  • Offered to a summer night

  • I be the numerous rivers

  • Flowing toward the one and only ocean

  • I be the moon

  • once again illuminated, for you

  • If you are the island

  • I be the ocean that embraces you

  • If you set sail

  • I be the breezing waves

  • If you go on a voyage

  • I be the road

  • Arranged with smoothness

  • Follow you to afar

  • When you are tired from walking

  • I be the night

  • The lodging on the side of the road

  • With clean bed sheets

  • For you to sleep on

  • There are dreams in your sleep

  • I be the tear stain on your pillow

  • I be the arm that you grab on

  • even your hair turned grey

  • I be the furnace fire by your foot

  • Converse the memories of old age with you

  • You are laughter

  • I am the song that echos

  • You are tears

  • I am the starlight that follows

  • When you are buried

  • I be the grass that accompanies you

  • you turned ashes

  • I be the dust

  • If, if only you still feel attached to this life

  • I pray another wish

  • To be with you in the next life

  • This is a poem

  • That should be read at the time of moon rise

  • Once at a full moon night at Tidaan on the East coast

  • I read this poem with several students

  • I don’t know why

  • I love reading and writing poems since I was young

  • But until today

  • Including just now

  • When I read poems

  • I still feel a kind of guilt

  • I think that guilt is

  • I don’t know what role poetry plays in this world

  • If there is war everywhere

  • If there is famine everywhere

  • If there is hate and murder between people everywhere

  • Then what could a poem save

  • I keep doubting what I do

  • When I knew that I had 18 minutes

  • To share the night of mid-autumn festival with some friends

  • I was wondering could people save 18 minutes

  • From a day of 24 hours for one poem

  • Then I thought it might still be a lavish

  • If I tell a friend in the work place who is busy all the time

  • To save 18 minutes for a poem everyday

  • I think he or she will still protest

  • So I concede

  • perhaps poetry is always conceding

  • Because it is unable to fight against anything

  • In the real world

  • So it concedes

  • So my compromise is that

  • Could we save 18 minutes for one poem

  • In an year of 365 days

  • And then I thought I concede again

  • Could it be 18 minutes for one poem

  • In a life time

  • Merely 18 minutes

  • But I think that’s enough

  • If you remember in that 18 minutes

  • You once saw in a spring

  • mountains devoured by the redness of Rhododendrons

  • I used to go there with my students often

  • it started in March or even February

  • The Rhododendrons of Yangmingshan

  • The whole mountain is red

  • There is another place that is very beautiful during May

  • The north face of Hehuanshan

  • It has Rhododendron rubropilosum Hayata

  • You can see the red mountain ridge

  • for several hundred meters long

  • My students often use lines

  • that I could never thought of to describe

  • He said, wow

  • The mountain is spitting blood

  • I couldn’t write something like that

  • I think the sentence is awesome

  • I believe there must be something in life

  • That could make him live with no regret

  • It is something like that which is crumbling and bleeding

  • There is an ancient story called The Cry of The Cuckoo

  • There was a lingering ghost of an emperor

  • it turns into a cuckoo bird

  • And it keeps on crying and crying

  • In the end the bird spat out blood

  • and dyed all the white flowers red

  • This is the story of the origin of Rhododendron

  • I always remember the spring Rhododendron

  • I witnessed several times on this island

  • I also once witnessed numerous rivers flowing downward

  • From the high point of this island

  • I lived in Dalongdong when I was young

  • It is on the shore of Tamsui River

  • We used to play in the Tamsui

  • But I knew along Tamsui

  • there is Dadaocheng above Dalongdong

  • Monga and Wanhua above Dadaocheng

  • Xindian Creek above Monga

  • And Beishi River above Xindian Creek

  • From the upper course going downwards

  • The river flows through a city

  • Now I live at its estuary at Bali

  • As if my life had come to the lower course too

  • But I think one’s life at the estuary

  • Has its own breadth

  • A river flows downward from a trickling creek

  • Passing Beishi River, Xindian Creek, Monga,

  • Dadaochen, Dalongdong and Shezi until the ocean

  • I believe the river has its own memory

  • So in the poem I read to you

  • There could be a Rhododendron bloomed in spring

  • Bloomed with no regret

  • Once there were numerous rivers

  • that flowed toward the one and only ocean

  • Once on Jibei Island of Penghu

  • The sands on the beach of Jibei is all white

  • Sands from eroded shells

  • On a night of full moon

  • When the moon is low

  • before dawn

  • When it’s almost dawn

  • All the stars shine in the sky

  • The student will grab you and yell

  • He didn’t talk about spitting blood this time

  • He couldn’t find any words

  • So he wept

  • I like seeing students weep

  • Because I believe they saw poetry

  • They will remember there were 18 minutes in their lives

  • Maybe it’s on the north face of Hehuanshan

  • Maybe it’s at the beach of Jibei

  • similarly

  • 900 years ago there was a poet at this night wrote

  • When will the moon be clear and bright?

  • I asked the sky with a cup of wine in hand

  • Wonder what year it is in the palaces of heaven tonight

  • He is asking the moon

  • He wants to return to his home in heaven

  • We are too familiar with Su Dongpo’s Shui Diao Ge Tou

  • In the last part of the poem he says

  • There are different phases of moon

  • As there are different emotions of life

  • When I read this in high school textbook

  • Suddenly I realize

  • If a culture, a nation desires completeness so strongly

  • On 15th of January of the lunar calendar

  • is Yuanxiao Festival, Shangyuan Festival

  • The desire of roundness

  • On 15th of July there is the mid-summer ghost festival

  • You release water lanterns

  • To summon the stray spirits back

  • To share the warmth of the human world

  • And the mid-autumn festival

  • It is the time when the moon is complete and brightest in the year

  • I suddenly realized the desire of completeness

  • In Su Dongpo’s poem

  • When he wrote there are different phases of moon

  • It is only then I realize our desire for completeness

  • is because there are too much fragmentary

  • There are numerous fragmentary in our lives

  • We desire its completeness someday

  • I remember when I was young, the dining table we used was round

  • Once a French writer asked me in Paris

  • She studies comparative literature

  • Julia Christopher

  • She asked me

  • Why all your tables are round

  • She just got back from Asia at that time

  • I never thought of this question

  • I always thought that tables are round

  • But of course in Paris

  • the tables are mostly squares or rectangles

  • Rarely round

  • Then I realize roundness is a culture’s

  • Fight against fragmentary and incompleteness

  • It desires completeness so much

  • Even it’s transient, even it’s only 18 minutes

  • It still fights against fragmentary and incompleteness

  • in this mere 18 minutes

  • Too many conflicts

  • Too many wars

  • Too many exiles

  • The culture appreciates the desire of roundness

  • Anticipates the completeness

  • I think what we just mentioned about

  • The blooming of flower and the complete of moon

  • Is easily mocked as overly romantic

  • I think we actually have a kind of fear of poetry

  • The fear is to fall into a world of delusion

  • But I don’t agree

  • Poetry soothed numerous hearts in ordeal

  • As Ping Chu just explained the word compassion

  • I believe love is to share joy

  • And pain together

  • That’s why it is resonated across different cultures

  • What we meant by poetry could be the content I just read

  • But in literature we believe

  • Poetry is not just putting different words

  • together to convey certain meanings

  • In most early cultures

  • Poetry is not written down by words or seen by eyes

  • It is said by language and heard by the ears

  • Homer and Greek epics

  • Is sung with instruments

  • Mahabharata and Ramayana of India

  • Can be sung endlessly with 80 thousand lines

  • China’s classic of poetry is sung by illiterate men and women

  • That plow the land singing

  • The birds sing in the sand bar

  • It is more recent when it is organized into writing

  • We forgot how old our language is

  • We forgot our language

  • was once vibrations of love in the air

  • In the ancient times

  • I left at a time when the Salicaceae are green

  • Now I return at the time of rain and snow

  • The poem must be sung

  • For the people that is illiterate to hear the 16 words

  • To be moved by the heart

  • Therefore, what is called poetry by a nation

  • All started from sound rather than vision

  • It is aural

  • Because hearing is more connected to the heart than vision

  • There are so many bridges on the river of Seine

  • Every time I pass a bridge called Mirabeau

  • It reminds me of Apollinaire

  • A poet that writes in French in the early 20th century

  • Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine Under the Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine

  • Et nos amours And our loves

  • Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne Must I remember them

  • It doesn’t really matter if we know this language or not

  • Because its beau amours seine sienne vienne

  • Is all rhyming

  • Rhyme pattern ABAB

  • So the poem sounds like a kind of music or a certain sound

  • We are moved by it