A strange comparison indeed, Cher sings, Sooner or later, We all Sleep Alone, and Cui Tu’s poem, A Solitary Wild Goose, the story of a wandering wild goose, woefully crying, seeking a home.
A lonely wild goose
line after line after line after line
flies back over the border
and you, by yourself, saying its fine
as it rains
evening comes and you call
with no answer
so, you alight at night, slowly
on an icy and frozen pond, above
faster than you clouds, heavy and wet, move
towards the mountains and wintry moon…
if you suffered the archer’s arrow and streamer,
could it be worse than going alone?
Cui Tu (traditional Chinese) was born in 854. His death went unrecorded. His lifetime spanned the events leading up to the end of the Tang dynasty in 907, natural disasters — alternate floods and drought – accompanied by major rebellions.
Twice yearly, Cui Tu must have observed the annual migration of the wild geese. In the spring, when the weather warms, the geese fly north, line after line, beyond the mountains, beyond the northern borders, beyond the purple passes to a foreign land, to a place beyond the ken of the poet. This migration is then repeated in the winter when the geese return, and fly south in search of a warmer and safer home.
Woe, the solitary goose cries out to his fleeing companions and attempts to bear the cold northern winds alone.
Original Chinese Characters –
Jǐ xíng guī sāi jǐn,
piàn yǐng dú hé zhī?
Mùyǔ xiāng hū shī,
hán táng yù xià chí.
Zhǔ yún dī àn dù,
guān yuè lěng xiāng suí.
Wèibì féng zēng jiǎo,
gū fēi zì kěyí
An examination of the pinyin, reveals an abundance of rhyme that is lost in translation. I have also abandoned form and structure in a attempt to give the poem some of Cui Tu’s resonance.
What, you ask, does any of this have to do with Cher? It is obvious to the wild goose and Cher.