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Poem after poem, the Chinese poet Haizi, who ended his life on a train track at 25, nurtures a romance, fated to end in a marriage, with death. He addresses the dead: Dante and Beatrice, Yesenin, Van Gogh, Wittgenstein. In his earthly life, the poet bears the “crown” of poetry: nothing less than a crown of thorns. Earthly life, for him, is a bitter journey to that final, much-anticipated wedding celebration:
At last before my eyes,
From the floating planks of my tomb,
A bridge or marriage boat will be formed.
Meanwhile, in the night, toward the moon and death, roses grow feverishly. Flashing her constantly mutating face, death is a pure a vision of nature, fertile and ecstatic, a grassland or Sichuan, a provisioner of exquisite flowers or of girls.
In the following poem, the poet requests a kiss from Sappho, the dead poetess.
Hot with love,
Exquisite as flower nurseries,
Girl poets lounge in a bower;
A mouth is employed
In plucking another’s lips.
I hear the echo of youth’s transformations: Sappho.
You with the name like a green,
Flock-strayed goose beneath a key:
Cover my glass.
Svelte Tuscan girl,
Sylph of herbs and dawns,
You with the wildflower name
Like hot, overflowing water
Dripping to a fragment of blue ice;
Of the head scarlet-swathed,
Upon every flown chick
Vermillion lips have left their mark.
Wind-bent on moist earth,
Bears the scent of your body.
Within the bower,
Sweetly repining for love,
Lend me one kiss.
给 萨 福