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Minmin's reply to Xu Zhimo's Leaving Cambridge poemIn June 2012 I was involved in a BBC Radio 3 "Between the Ears" episode about Xu Zhimo's Leaving Cambridge poem. One of the listeners was a biochemist named Minmin who had recently arrived at Cambridge, and the programme inspired her to write her own Chinese poem about taking up a post at LMB. Here is that poem, with pinyin annotation and a rhyming translation I made (2015) in the same style as the one I made of Xu Zhimo's poem.
|Stepping aboard Cambridge
|Written by Minmin after listening to BBC Radio 3's ``Between the Ears'' programme about Xu Zhimo's ``Leaving the Revisited Cambridge'', 30 June 2012
Delighted now I reach the Cam
as dream'ly slow I stroll;
Melt into the grandiose
diverse and delicate whole.
’Neath the graceful willows' shade
the punts on ripples sway;
my anxious heart restirs its ebb
where youth's sail'd bird once lay.
Hosts of thoughts that moisten cheeks
at Cam-side pause my roam;
These strange surrounds and populace
just how can be my home?
A flower-bordered bench in warmth
hems in my lonesome look;
I hear but puffs of fallen leaves
and tranqu'ly clutch my book.
A dream? a tale? exotic land?
How inconceived the flight
of wand'ring step adrift this place
life's engines saw the light.
To enter such an honoured lab
Of yore and yonder strides
infects the eyes to yearn and dig
and find what nature hides.
Privilig'd now to board the Cam
fulfilling longtime dream;
with calm I start the morrow's life
as joyfulness I beam.
This poem and its translation had their first public reading by Minmin Yu and Heidi Leroy-Short at the wedding of Silas Brown and Yun Wen Chen on 14th March 2015 (postponed from 17th February due to visa issues) in the Brooke Room at Cambridge.
© Minmin Yu and Silas S. Brown