Smile of the Earth by Qi Yun ~ 栖云 《泥土的微笑》 with English Translations


栖云 《泥土的微笑》

我在花园里种满了芬芳的玫瑰花,远远望去,像一片燃烧的晚霞。我想等朋友来做客的时候,让他们携带些玫瑰回家。我相信朋友捧着火红的玫瑰渐渐走远的背影, 一定能点燃易感的情怀。有一天,一位非常要好的女友来探望我,我知道她平素最喜欢花花草草了,临别时我说,采一束玫瑰点缀你的闺房,保证十里飘香。




一 个朋友在拍卖会上有幸购得一个花瓶,花瓶细颈大肚,碎花蓝白调子,流光溢彩。从造型到色彩,整个如唐朝盛世的化身,雍容,华贵,高傲,悠闲,目空一切。朋 友请我们大家观赏。奇怪的是每一个参观者都小心谨慎,生怕碰坏这盛唐的宝贝。其实不过是一撮泥土,经过窑烧才千修百炼成瓷中经典。




Smile of the Earth
Qi Yun

All over my garden I’ve planted nothing but roses, fragrant and–If looked at from afar–ablaze with colour like sunset clouds. I would be very happy if any one of my visiting friends should desire to pick and take some for their homes. I trust that any friend of mine carrying the roses would vanish into the distance feeling that his emotion had been rekindled. A close friend came for a visit the other day. I know her to be a lover of flowers and plants, and for that reason I told her at her departure that she should pick a bunch of roses to decorate her boudoir. I promised that the scent of the roses would be wafted far, far away.

That girl friend of mine, tiptoeing into the garden in high spirits, sniffed here and smelt there, but in the end she didn’t pick a single rose. I said there were so many of them that she could pick as many as she’d like to; I told her that I was not a florist and didn’t make a living out of them. While saying so I raised the scissors for the sacrifice of the flowers, but she vehemently stopped me, crying no, no, no!

To cut such beautiful roses would hurt one, she said. With her hands clutching at my sleeves, she told me that by no means should they be cut. Roses are the smiling face of the earth, and who could be so iron-hearted as to destroy a smile so exhilarating?

My mind was thoroughly boggled: the ugly earth, the humble earth, the plain earth–it is only because of the roses that it reveals an amazing and bright smile, and it is for the sake of that smile that it wins the care and pity of men.

Of late a friend of mine invited me to appreciate a Tang Dynasty vase that he was fortunate enough to have bought at an auction. The vase, with its slim neck, plump body, and fine little flowers on a blue and white background, has a noble shape and a rich colouring, elegant, refined, proud, poised, and supercilious, an extreme embodiment of the prosperity of the Tang Dynasty. I was filled with wonder to think that while everyone present was taking great care not to cause the slightest damage to the Tang treasure, it was to me nothing but an object made of clay. It had only become a piece of classic art after being baked in a china kiln.

Both the exquisiteness of the boccaro teapots made in south China, and the shockingly beautiful sculptures by Clay Sculptor Zhang of Tianjin—aren’t they all smiles of the earth? They are such exquisite treasures that—even if they look ugly, humble, plain, or whatever—they no doubt deserve respect and veneration.

Now I understand that no-one, however ordinary, should be condemned to anonymity, and that anyone who adds a dash of colour to life deserves our respect.

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