Monday, April 22, 2013

"I want every moment to be as gorgeous as crayons are"

Tonight I was all set to write about Emil Nolde, and his small watercolor and gouache "Unpainted Paintings" which he made after the Nazis forbade him to paint or even buy art supplies. But instead I just picked up Gu Cheng again. He's been dead by his own hand a long time now. But tonight in this poem, something wonderful is left of him. Strangely, today at S's sleep therapist's, she told us that her son tried to kill himself with a shot in the heart a few days ago. These human miseries, far and wide. . . Here are all the posts, including this one, on this blog concerning Gu Cheng.

I'm an Obstinate Child

my mother spoiled me
I'm obstinate

I want
every moment
to be as gorgeous as crayons are
I want to draw pictures on lovely white sheets of paper
to paint clumsy freedom
to draw an eye
that never weeps
a sky
a feather and a leaf pertaining to the sky
a pale green night and a pale green apple

I want to paint portraits of the morning
to draw smiles witnessed by the morning dew
to draw the freshest
most painless love
to draw the lover
of my mind's eye
she who never saw dark ckouds
she whose eyes are the color of clear sky
she who would always be looking at me
always looking
never abruptly to turn her head away

I want to paint distant landscapes
to draw the clear horizon and the surf
to draw many merry streams
to draw mountains--
coated with pastel fuzz
I keep them close together
and let them love each other
let every trepidation of a quiet spring
mark the birth of a tiny flower

I want to draw the future
I have not met her yet, that's not possible
but I know she's a beauty
I draw the cape she wears in autumn
draw the burning candles and the maple leaves
draw the many hearts snuffed out
for love of her
draw the wedding
draw the feastday morning when I wake up early
a festival decked out in candy wrappers

I am an obstinate child
I want to blot out all misfortune
I want to draw windows all over the earth
to let the eyes accustomed to darkness
learn the habit of light
I want to draw the wind
to draw mountain peaks taller than the next
to paint the dreams of people of the East
to colour in the sea--
boundless murmur of merriment

and last of all on some stray corner of the sheet
I want to draw myself
to draw a koala bear
perched on a dour forest in Victoria
perched quietly on a bough
with no home
with no heart left behind in a far off land
with only an abundance
of dreams like berries
and great big eyes

I hope
but I do not know why
no one gives me crayons
not even one moment of colour
I only have me
my fingers and my pains
I can only tear off
strip after strip of lovely clean paper
to flutter off in search of butterflies
to fade away from Today

I am a child
Mother Wit's spoiled brat
I'm obstinate

Selected Poems by Gu Cheng,  pages 47-49

This is the longest poem I've typed for this blog; I will have to return to haiku, I guess. But Gu Cheng touched my heart a long time ago and I do not plan to forget. Good night.

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