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The world’s most popular poem?

January 18, 2014

Saying goodbye to Cambridge again by Xu Zhimo

Follow the Chinese tourists as you walk behind Trinity, Clare and King’s colleges.

cambridge bridge of sighs   Clare_Bridge      kings bridge

They will lead you unerringly to this Beijing marble stone inscribed with the first and last verses of the best loved poem by China’s most popular poet.

zhimo cambridge stone       xu zhimo     lin huyin

Xu had been in an arranged marriage when he arrived to study English in Cambridge in 1921, but he fell in love with another woman, Lin Huiyin, despite her already being promised to someone else. In 1922 he returned to China and fell in love again, this time with Lu Xiaoman, the wife of a friend. They married in 1926, but their families ostracised them, there were money troubles, and Lu became depressed. Xu died in a plane crash in 1931, allegedly flying to meet Lin Huiyin.

He wrote the poem after a second and final visit to Cambridge in 1928.  Every Chinese schoolchild learns it by heart, along with the story of Xu and Lin.

Stand a moment with the tourists, as they recall their own movings on; gently flicking their sleeves, not taking away even a wisp of cloud.

Saying good-bye to Cambridge again 

Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Quietly I wave good-bye
To the rosy clouds in the western sky.

The golden willows by the riverside
Are young brides in the setting sun;
Their reflections on the shimmering waves
Always linger in the depth of my heart.

The floating heart growing in the sludge
Sways leisurely under the water;
In the gentle waves of Cambridge
I would be a water plant!

That pool under the shade of elm trees
Holds not water but the rainbow from the sky;
Shattered to pieces among the duckweeds
Is the sediment of a rainbow-like dream?

To seek a dream? Just to pole a boat upstream
To where the green grass is more verdant;
Or to have the boat fully loaded with starlight
And sing aloud in the splendor of starlight.

But I cannot sing aloud
Quietness is my farewell music;
Even summer insects heap silence for me
Silent is Cambridge tonight!

Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away

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One Comment leave one →
  1. pureform 2000 permalink
    January 18, 2014 3:48 pm

    Very quietly I take my leave As quietly as I came here; Quietly I wave good-bye To the rosy clouds in the western sky. The golden willows by the riverside Are young brides in the setting sun;(On drugs.?) Their reflections on the shimmering waves Always linger in the depth of my heart. The floating heart growing in the sludge Sways leisurely under the water; In the gentle waves of Cambridge I would be a water plant!(Opium…probably.) That pool under the shade of elm trees Holds not water but the rainbow from the sky; Shattered to pieces among the duckweeds Is the sediment of a rainbow-like dream? To seek a dream? Just to pole a boat upstream To where the green grass is more verdant;(Magic mushrooms.) Or to have the boat fully loaded with starlight And sing aloud in the splendor of starlight.(Whiskey ..wine…and beer.) But I cannot sing aloud Quietness is my farewell music;(After all my singing.) Even summer insects heap silence for me Silent is Cambridge tonight! Very quietly I take my leave As quietly as I came here; Gently I flick my sleeves Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away(And I take the gravy train away.)

    Date: Sat, 18 Jan 2014 08:53:48 +0000 To: pureform2000@hotmail.com

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