4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

"In Broad Daylight I Dream of My Dead Wife"

  • A poem by Mei Yao Ch’en
  • Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Who says that the dead do not think of us?

Sponsored
Sponsored

Whenever I travel, she goes with me.

She was uneasy when I was on a journey.

She always wanted to accompany me.

While I dream, everything is as it used to be.

When I wake up, I am stabbed with sorrow.

The living are often parted and never meet again.

The dead are together as pure souls.


Mei Yao Ch’en (1002–1060) was a Sung Dynasty poet whose work often focused on social reform. But he was also a distinctly personal poet who wrote about the death of his wife and the death of two of his children. A major figure in Chinese poetry, Mei Yao Ch’en felt that the late T’ang poetry had focused too heavily on descriptive landscape imagery and too little on the reality of people’s lives. His poems, largely free of rhetorical excess, tended to be written in a language that was deceptively simple and colloquial.

It is not at all surprising that the great American poet Kenneth Rexroth (1905–1982) would find Mei Yao Ch’en’s poetry to his taste, for Rexroth, a superb craftsman and notable scholar, also wrote a poetry that, against the grain of American modernism, was simple, clear, and highly autobiographical. This translation of “In Broad Daylight I Dream of My Dead Wife” appears in Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Chinese, published by New Directions Press, and is reprinted by permission.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Will high egg prices relax San Diego's poultry raising rules?

Eggs a hot commodity in food exchanges
  • A poem by Mei Yao Ch’en
  • Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Who says that the dead do not think of us?

Sponsored
Sponsored

Whenever I travel, she goes with me.

She was uneasy when I was on a journey.

She always wanted to accompany me.

While I dream, everything is as it used to be.

When I wake up, I am stabbed with sorrow.

The living are often parted and never meet again.

The dead are together as pure souls.


Mei Yao Ch’en (1002–1060) was a Sung Dynasty poet whose work often focused on social reform. But he was also a distinctly personal poet who wrote about the death of his wife and the death of two of his children. A major figure in Chinese poetry, Mei Yao Ch’en felt that the late T’ang poetry had focused too heavily on descriptive landscape imagery and too little on the reality of people’s lives. His poems, largely free of rhetorical excess, tended to be written in a language that was deceptively simple and colloquial.

It is not at all surprising that the great American poet Kenneth Rexroth (1905–1982) would find Mei Yao Ch’en’s poetry to his taste, for Rexroth, a superb craftsman and notable scholar, also wrote a poetry that, against the grain of American modernism, was simple, clear, and highly autobiographical. This translation of “In Broad Daylight I Dream of My Dead Wife” appears in Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Chinese, published by New Directions Press, and is reprinted by permission.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

African Composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Don't Sleep on Samuel Coleridge-Tayor
Next Article

A poem by Edgar Allan Poe on his birthday

Annabel Lee
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close