14 August, 2013

Beijing Subway I

sun temple
change here for
bridge of flowers

(written between Jinsong and Panjiayuan)


shah8 said...

Treading through anecdotes
Needing goggles
To count every snowflake

Hobbes said...

I like it. :)

Hobbes said...

Did you ever write a poem which was trivial, but of which you were particularly proud? This is one of a small set that I wrote while standing on the 45-minute ride from the university district to the financial district, in, as the name suggests, the Beijing subway. I must recount the anecdote, so don your goggles.

What kind of strange laowai attempts to write in his journal while being continuously jossled by commuters? One who can see over the heads of those commuters, perhaps.

The names of the subway stops in Beijing are mostly taken from the areas directly above them (sensibly enough), which, in turn, are typically derived from features of the old city, as was, before the hyperdevelopment of recent years. You therefore end up with fantastically picturesque names which translate into "sun temple" and "bridge of flowers", among many other beautiful examples.

The phrasing of the haiku comes from the ever-familiar London subway: "[We are arriving at] soandso, change here for soandso."

When you insert the translated names of the Beijing subway stops, however, as I invariably do with my internal translation mechanism when hearing the Chinese names, then you end up with a thing of surprising and strange beauty.

The haiga is completed with a famous bridge (perhaps the famous bridge) in the Beijing university quarter. It is a bridge of flowers indeed, although, at the time at which the photograph was taken, the lilies were not yet blooming.



Hobbes said...

I hope this makes some kind of sense to you who are not me, Gentle Reader. :)