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AL YOUNG
Two Poems

translations by Chun Yu ä¿žæ·³

A Sunday Sonnet for my Mother’s Mother (for Mrs. Lillian Campbell)

Consider her now, glowing, light-worn,
arthritic, crippled in a city backroom
far from the farm where she was born
when King Cotton was still in bloom.
She is as Southern as meat brown pecans,
or fried green tomato, or moon pies.
Gathering now for eight decades, aeons
of volunteered slavery soften her sighs.
Talk about somebody who’s been there,
This grand lady has seen, remembers it all
and can tell you about anyone anywhere
in voices as musical as any bird’s call.
Loving her, it hurts to hear her say,
“My grandchildren, they just threw me away.”

From The Blues Don’t Change, published by Louisiana State University Press, 1982

 
給我母親的母親的星期天十四行詩(致莉蓮·坎貝爾夫人)

想想現在的她:發光,微微發舊,
關節炎,殘疾在城裏的後房間裏;
在“棉花王”仍在盛開時
遠離著她出生的農場。
她像肉褐色的山核桃
或油炸的綠色番茄,
或月亮餡餅似地南部。
總共八十年,無盡自願的奴役
軟化了她的嘆息。
說起一個曾經“去過那裏”的人,
這位大老夫人見過,記得那一切,
能以像任何鳥鳴般富有音樂的聲音
給你講任何人,任何地方。
愛著她, 聽到她說,
“我的孫子孫女們,他們把我給扔了。”
讓人傷心不已。

Key to the Dollar Store

Just tell me who the hell am I?
What powers did I, do I hold?
What right have I to say “my”
or “mine” or “me” — all honey-
glazed, all bullet-proofed and
worshipful of any gangster “I”?

The key to the Dollar Store
hangs on my belt. Yes, “my”
again. And what of roof, of bread,
of loving laughter? What’s in?
My vinyl favorite Booker Little,
vintage, soothes me. He jars
our ears with trumpet joy and
stuff freed folks stash in cabinets.

Never one to make too much of
why we love and what, I love my
powers. I might put you in my will.

First published in Poetry (February 2017)

 
一元店的鑰匙

告訴我我到底是誰?
我曾經和現在擁有什麼權力?
我有什麼資格說“我的”
或“我擁有的”或“我” — 那所有抹了
蜜糖的,所有帶防彈保護的
和充滿崇拜的任何黑幫式的“我”?

一元店的鑰匙
掛在我的腰帶上。是的,又是“我的”。
那麼屋頂,麵包,愛的笑聲呢?什麼入時?
我最喜愛的布克.立陶黑膠唱片,
老式經典,撫慰著我。 他以
小號的喜悅和解放了的人們
藏在櫃子裡的東西
刺痛我們的耳朵。

從來不過分解讀為什麼我們
愛和愛什麼,我愛我的
權力。我可能會把你放在我的遺囑裡。

Al Young’s books include poetry, fiction, essays, anthologies, and musical memoirs. His many honors include Wallace Stegner, Guggenheim, Fulbright, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the PEN-Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, two American Book Awards, two Pushcart Prizes, two New York Times Notable Book of the year citations, Thomas Wolfe Award, and the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature. Whittier College conferred on him the Doctor of Humane Letters. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him Poet Laureate of California. His most recent publications are Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons: Poems. He taught creative writing at the University of California campuses of Santa Cruz and Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington. He was been a Jones Lecturer at Stanford, a Mellon Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Rice University, and a Distinguished Professor at California College of the Arts’ MFA In Writing Program.