June 13

Video project: illuminated project

Poem by Xuzhimo:

Very quietly I take my leave

As quietly as I came here;

Quietly I wave good-bye

To the rosy clouds in the western sky.

The golden willows by the riverside

Are young brides in the setting sun;

Their reflections on the shimmering waves

Always linger in the depth of my heart.

The floating heart growing the sludge

Sways leisurely under the water;

In the gentle waves of Cambridge

I would be a water plant!

That pool under the shade of elm trees

Holds not water but the rainbow from the sky;

Shattered to pieces among the duck weeds

Is the sediment of a rainbow-like dream?

To seek a dream?

Just to pole a boat upstream

To where the green grass is more verdant

Or to have the boat fully loaded with starlight

And sing aloud in the splendor of starlight.

But I can’t sing aloud

Quietness is my farewell music;

Even summer insects heap silence for me

Silent is Cambridge tonight!

Very quietly I left

As quietly as I came here;

Gently I flick my sleeves

Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away

Analyze: This is a Chinese poem written by Zhimo Xu , who is one of the most renowned romantic poets of 20th-century Chinese literature, he is known for his promotion of modern Chinese poetry and made contributions to modern Chinese literature. He was born in a very rich family, his father has family business, at that time period, his family was the top rich people in that town, so Zhimo Xu can go to school when he was a little, and always can get the best education, that made his family hope he could become the best student, and also created the firm foundation which helped him can go to notable foreign universities.  He attended Clark University in America in 1918, after 10 months, he transferred to Columbia University in the City of New York, to learn economy. Furthermore, in 1921 he attended Cambridge university in Britain to study Political Economy. The two years in Cambridge was a very important time period of Zhimo Xu, because he was impacted by the Western poets, which made he start writing poems, and become Romanticism. Even in 1923, he set up Xinyue(new moon) Club in Beijing. Unfortunately, he died in a airplane crash in November, 1931. Though this is poem was written in Chinese, and translated into the English version. I chose this poem, because it is very famous poem in China, the original version has many beautiful and meaningful words, which creates the mood and the theme of the poem. It seems like it is describing the scenery of Cambridge, but the author expressed his emotions rely on these natural objects indeed. The emotions have three parts: missing the place which “bring up” him, because the Cambridge brought him onto the poet path; pity to leave this wonderful place, and he recalled sweet memories with a girl he met in Cambridge. Under the charming scenery, the love relationship made him very gloomy. The speaker is the author, and the audience is the Cambridge university. The tone of the poem is sad, shows the narrator is reluctant to leave this place. Therefore the music that my group chose which also gives people a sorrowful, but quiet and peaceful feelings, that is one of the reasons we chose; another one would be this poem was written on November 6th, 1928, so the song’s atmosphere fits in that time period. I did not give a background to the title in the video, because I think that would be clear to the audiences. For the first two lines of the poem are talking about the narrator came to and then left Cambridge without anyone knowing, very brief and clear, so I chose the picture of the Cambridge university under the blue sky and white clouds, which could show narrator carried a cheerful mood came here secretly. Because this was written on the way back home, so the start of the poem takes about leaving. Straight afterward, the author begin depicting the scenery he saw, so my group chose the pictures just fit in the poem directly for the next 6 lines; And then we chose a picture of a flying dandelion in the sunset. Firstly, these two lines seems are talking about the plants grow in the water, apparently the author uses this little grass to express his longing for freedom, that just suitable for the flying dandelion; secondly, the narrator went there when the sunset, that is the reason the picture has the sunset. Subsequently, the next picture shows the mom hug her child in her bosom, because in the poem, the “gentle waves” and water plant is living in the water, it relies on the water to live, as a result these two lines reveal the narrator felt the connection between him and the Cambridge just like this place is his mother gave him a new life. In the next two lines, the picture just simply about the river under the little arch bridge, the sunset, the sky reflects on the water surface. But I think the author wants to say more than that, connect to the line before, the pool is the one that water plant grows. Although, the water plant in the water, the pool also has the rainbow from the sky, which stands for the dream that the author had, or probably stands for the sweet memories when he was still a student. Then, next two lines make the rainbow more clearly, which are saying the pool shattered the rainbow into pieces,  and they become the sediment, so the water plant can have the “rainbow-like dream”which is a metaphor. In the picture the girl is blowing a big bubble, and the goldfish flowing in the air, it shows the dream, and amazing alike the rainbow. The 17th line is very short, the funny thing is in the Chinese version, it is only 2 words, it is about seeking dream, so we think the girl running by the riverside or ocean line is full of youthful spirit, illustrate the power that people who is putting efforts to reach their goals properly. The next two lines, the author wants to say if you want to seek the dream, you  need to go to where the green grass is more verdant, only the grass is delicate could be more verdant, likewise the upstream has the same meaning likewise. It is a metaphor, author is telling readers the time when he was a student, he had the dreams. So we chose the picture whixh is actually a photo of the author when he was younger. Then another metaphor appears in the next two lines. “The boat fully loaded with starlight” demonstrate the dreams, as shinning as the starlight, as beautiful as starlight. I chose the picture that a boat berths in the middle of the ocean, and the sky in the night has lots of beautiful starlight. This is picture seems very straight forward, but I think it also give people a feeling that the boat is losing in the beautiful starlight, intoxicated in the pleasant scenery, just like the narrator really missed that time which full of dreams and enthusiasm. We chose a picture of seedling, because we think it is showing vigor, just like the poem “sing aloud”, has the vitality. Instead, the dream did not came true, as the next two lines tell us, the narrator seems like trapped, had the limitation to sing aloud, only “quietness””even summer insects heap silence for me”. Because the author went back to the Cambridge by himself without anyone knowing, and he did not meet his old friends, so he wanted to shout out his feelings, his thoughts, but they were nowhere to go. So we chose a picture which a girl draw a sad face on the paper, fully fit for the mood the narrator had, and then next picture is a man walking on the bleak street, only himself and it is raining, just like the tone that narrator portrayed..As a result, in the next line, narrator keeps talking about the silent, but very simple, so I chose the picture that Cambridge in the sunset, and no one is there. Lastly, there is a repetition of the first verse, so the same picture as the beginning, but the Cambridge is in the night. Then instead of wave goodbye, author changed words, “flick my sleeves” and “..wisp of cloud” it shows the emotion that narrator was reluctant to leaving, but also reveals the narrator felt free after revisiting, I can also feel the narrator has no alternative, he has nothing to bring back, that is a pity to narrator. The title of the poem is “Saying Goodbye to the Cambridge again”, because after his graduation, this is the second goodbye. Basically, the poem talks about the narrator came back to the Cambridge, who enjoyed the scenery at first, then recalled lots of memories in school time, after that left with a bunch of sadness. The original version, every four lines is a stanza, the last word in the end of the second line matches the forth line’s, as well as the first matches the third one, this is rhyme, but in the English version, it does not have, so it could also be free verse.The shift in the poem would be the third verse, which is the 9th line. From the 9th line it starts talking about the dreams, the poem becomes abstract from concrete, then at last six lines become concrete again. The whole poem is from general to specific, at the beginning tells everyone the narrator left the Cambridge, then reminisce the time in university, talking in specific, especially the stanza talks about the dream. In general, we could see the poem is from question to answer. Initially, the author came back want to find his girlfriend, but she left before, moreover, he did not meet any friends there, the loneliness. Dramatically, because of the attractive views beneath sunset made the author set a goal, recall the eagerness to seek a dream, so it could be considered  as the author found his answer.  Many connotation in the poem, such as the vocabulary “floating heart” which is not just a type of plant, but it is narrator himself; “sing aloud” is not real singing, it is a way that stands for narrator want to yell out his feelings. Other poetic devices would be: “summer insects heap silence for me” is a personification; “The golden willows by the riverside, Are young brides in the setting sun””Always linger in the depth of my heart” are metaphor. The description of water plant and starlight could also be imagery. “Or to have the boat fully loaded with starlight” is hyperbole. To me, I feel connection with this poem, I am living in the foreign country now, receiving education here and also I will go to a university here in the future, I also long for the happy days I can have in the university, and also craves to fall in love with a handsome boy.