by Nina Kedar
Whether your clothing is expensive silk, or whether it’s the simplest of cottons,
Whether your looks are the envy of many, or whether they’ve never been praised,
It’s still a glorious morning in Shuzheng Valley,
It’s still another beautiful day upon the blessed earth.
Whether you feast to excess, or whether your sustenance is simple,
Whether you go forth in conquest, or live a life of leisure,
Look around at the land, my people, on this beautiful morning,
Look at the abundance of love and never forget the value of each other.
Whether your cheeks are rosy and young,
Or lines of age decorate their contours,
Don’t we all see the sunlight filtering delicately through the trees,
And feel the supreme stillness of the Xiniu lake?
Don’t miss the amber-tipped trees in autumn,
Or the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas,
Or the feasting pandas in bamboo glades,
Raise your voices, uplifted by love for the land.
Whether you have had your breath quickened by love’s enticing prospect,
Or whether you have exhaled bittersweet sighs at love lost.
If you have given your heart in true love, then the returns will be manifold.
Open your voices and your hearts and proclaim your exhilaration.
Grace of Guanyin
The lotus does not know how dirty is the pond.
It springs forth in full bloom with the beauty of Guanyin,
It spreads sweet scent in the morning air.
It gathers warmth soulfully in the afternoon sun,
It shivers with the exhilarating vibrations of bees,
It thrills in the excitement of the evening waves,
And when life expires, it gives its last grace to the moonlit night
Love’s new dawn
I read my lovers like poems,
I spread kisses like verses,
I watched them glow with the light of the universe,
I offered them the earth and sky,
In abundance, with a clear heart full of joy.
I raised lamps in humility
To the happiness I gave them.
But when trust was shaken,
Love became but a thrilling game of cards
That comes to a swift end upon winning.
Love became a sharp arrow
Drawn for the purpose of progeny.
Love became a brief summer of content
Erased by winter’s long sharp fury.
I fed my inner light
With the energy of existence,
I came into the healing light of the morning
And saw my fears diminish and my faith grow.
Love was my inner treasure.
That would enrich me,
And guide my heart to my soul.
Now the warm blankets and tea of the town are distant memories,
Now the laughter of children is nowhere to be heard,
Now all that’s left is faith that meditates in the tall forest pines,
And the courage that rises in the heart from ascending the slope.
They asked me why I climbed Mount Tai,
Why step by step, I laboured all the way to the top,
Mount Tai taught me about life and loss,
Each breath took on a new meaning.
Each vista was grand and fresh.
Each step brought me new peril, but also new reward.
I savoured the feel of the earth under my feet
Every time I feared the height.
I let the sun calm me as my mother’s smile,
I let the wind play with my hair.
And when I reached the top,
I forgot my bruises and opened my heart
To the sun, afloat on a sea of clouds,
I took a breath like no other.
And felt the power of the mother of life.
Blessing all around.
She laced the morning air with her song of ecstasy,
Strong as battle cries carried up to the sun,
On a circling eagle’s wing.
Every leaf felt the quiver of victory,
Every heart was filled with pride.
Then she began a soft song, halting and thrilling,
In half breath, which rose and fell,
With a smile, tenderly parting the morning mist,
With whispers that made your heart hurt with longing.
So sang Wulan of Inner Mongolia.
When Wulan sings, before you know,
Your heart is watered, saplings sprout,
Flowers unfold in full bloom,
Your soul becomes a prism creating rainbows,
While your chest lifts in surrender.
Before you know,
You are bathing under a waterfall,
You are marvelling at quivering birds in violet, blue and green,
You are following the scent of poppy flowers on the prairie,
So sang Wulan of Hulunbuir.