Obstinate Child, by Gu Cheng

Obstinate Child

Maybe my mother spoiled me
I’m obstinate

I want every moment to be
as gorgeous as crayons are
I want to draw pictures on lovely white sheets of paper
to paint clumsy freedom
to draw an eye that never weeps
a sky, a feather and a leaf pertaining to the sky
to paint green night and pale apple

I want to paint portraits of the morning
to draw smiles witnessed by the morning dew
to draw the freshest, most painless love
to draw the lover of my mind’s eye

I want to paint distant landscapes
to draw the clear horizon and the surf
to draw many surging streams
to draw mountains coated with pastel fuzz
let every trepidation of a quiet spring
mark the birth of a tiny flower

I want to draw the future
I have not met her yet, but I know she is a beauty
I sketch the cape she wears in autumn
and the burning candles and the maple leaves
draw the feastday morning when I wake up early
a festival decked out in candy wrappers
and pictures from fairy tales of the North

I want to draw windows all over the earth
To let eyes accustomed to the darkness learn the habit of light
I want to draw the wind, mountain peaks
Paint the dreams of the people of the East
To colour in the sea

And last of all on some stray corner of the sheet
I want to draw myself, koala bear
perched in a dour forest, on a bough, in a daze
with no home, no heart left behind in a far off land
with only an abundance of dreams
like berries and big eyes

I hope, ponder, but do not know why
no one gives me crayons
not even a moment of coulor
I only have me
my fingers and my pains
I can only tear off strip after strip
of lovely clean paper
to flutter off in search of butterflies
to fade from today

I am a child, Mother Wit’s spoiled brat
I am obstinate.
By Gu Cheng


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