Tonight I am posting part 2 of Gu Cheng's poem, with one of my own haiku. Oddly enough, when all five parts of his poem are posted, it will read backwards down the page, because blogs ARE backwards really, with the newest post first. Last night, after posting, I read the material on Gu Cheng which was linked to the Wikipedia article. (Except for the web page in Chinese,) The hat, apparently, WAS made from a jean's leg. And, it seems to have been symbolically important to him, even protective. This was strong enough to be emotionally understood, even in simultaneous translation, the night I heard him. (See the previous two posts.)
Here is part 2 of the poem POETRY LESSONS (1980) by Gu Cheng.
I grew up on a stretch of barren, alkaline land.
The earth and sky there were of a perfect beauty, they formed a perfect sphere. There were no hills, no trees; not even the angular lines of a building to disturb the view.
When I walked along my imaginary road, there was only me between the earth and sky, me: along with a type of pale purple plant.
These plants grew tall in that salty soil, so slender and dense; they stood beneath the sky, under dark clouds and blazing sun, accepting all that befell them. No one knew that they were there, no butterflies, no bees, there were no startled sighs nor praises sung about them. Nonetheless, they grew, putting forth their small flowers, proudly holding their heads high . . . .
They taught me about springtime, poetry and poetry’s duty.