Monday, 5 September 2011

天空 The sky is not always blue

I still can't believe it is September already. We spent this weekend getting ready for school and work - lots of shopping, laundary, cooking, etc. Summer is really short this year. And it is a memorable one as we drove across three provinces - BC, Alberta and Saskachewan - in three weeks to visit friends and families. It was a trip of reconnecting. I will write more about the trip as ideas bubble up. I did work on this short poem with Emilyn as soon as we came home. It is about the sky. That's something surprised me the most about the road trip: how much sky I got to observe and enjoy. From the mountain to the prairie, I can really appreciate the differences in colours, clouds, and textures. Yes, I felt I can touch the sky!

Here is the full poem:
天空 Tiān kōng  (Sky)
天空是籃色的 Tiān kōng shì lán sè de
The sky is blue
不過 Bú guò
有時後是黃色、橘色、紫色、紅色 Yǒu shí hòu shì huáng sè, jú sè, zǐ sè, hóng sè
Sometimes it is yellow, orange, purple or red
在平原上的天空,很大 Zài píng yuán shàng de tiān kōng, hěn dà
The sky on the prairie is very vast
大得包圍起草原和漫遊吃草的牛馬 Dà dé bāo wéi qǐ cǎo yuán hé màn yóu chī cǎo de niú mǎ
So vast that it embraces the grassland and the grazing cows and horses
我站在很大的天空下 Wǒ zhàn zài hěn dà de tiān kōng xià
I stand under the vast sky
感覺我自己很小 Gǎn jié wǒ zì jǐ hěn xiǎo
I feel I am very small
在高山上的天空,很小 Zài gāo shān shàng de tiān kōng, hěn xiǎo
The sky in the mountains is small
小得像被山谷和森林擁抱在懷裡 Xiǎo dé xiàng bèi shān gǔ hé sēn lín yǒng bào zài huái lǐ
So small that it is embraced by the hills and forests
我站在很小的天空下 Wǒ zhàn zài hěn xiǎo de tiān kōng xià
I stand under the small sky
感覺自己被緊緊地抱著 Gǎn jué zì jǐ bèi jǐn jǐn dì bào zhe
I feel I am tightly held
I was reminded this week how important it is to keep telling stories. Salman Rushdie once said "Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts". It sounds pretty heavy and serious but it does resonate with the reason I am writing this blog and creating these poems and stories. Children (and adult) who learn Chinese as a second language need to tell their own stories. Emilyn learned a few new Chinese words through writing and recording this poem. More importantly, for me and for her, we are using the language to decribe our exepriences. It is an awesome feeling of empowerment. Now I can't wait to write more about our road trip. It was packed with fun and new exepriences for sure!