CHEN I-chih 陳義芝
THE CHILDREN OF MYANMAR
Translated by John J. S. BALCOM 陶忘機
| ──More than 130,000 people died in the aftermath of
Cyclone Nargis. A month after the disaster, hundreds of thousands
lived unaided in the mud amid the stench of rotting corpses.
The Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society of Taiwan took the
lead by adopting two thousand orphans.
Myanmar is a village forgotten
By the global family of this world.
The military junta will not be forgotten.
Aung San Suu Ki will not be forgotten.
But the riverbanks blown away by Cyclone Nargis have
The rice fields swept away by the Ayeyarwady have been
Silent are the children hurled through the air by the counterclockwise
Cyclone, unseen and therefore forgotten.
Silent are the children cast into the water by the cyclone,
Counterclockwise, unsaved and therefore forgotten.
What are seeds like that rot in the earth?
Thus are the children of Myanmar.
Though they live, they lie in their graves,
Their future held prisoner.
Like the filthy water that will not recede, the floating corpses
That won’t go away, no one sees the village of Myanmar;
And even if noticed, they would soon be forgotten.
The children who lost their parents to the reverse cyclone
Dig wells under the moon to bury their former selves, then
Walk to the undamaged temple for a bottle of clean water.
They are doomed to be forgotten, whether in
Another fifty years, or ten, or in just ten days.
From Chen, I-chih’s 陳義芝 collectionof poetry Pien chieh. [The boundry].
Taipei: Chiuko Publishing, 2009, 120-122.