Pet Sounds: Nicola Chan Oi Ching

Pet Sounds: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a piece of music or song. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

The Impermanence of Things.jpgJames R. Eads, “The Impermanence of Things”

寫一首歌讓你帶回去,
I wrote a song for you to carry with you
在我關上車門以後揮一揮手。
and waved goodbye after closing the car door.
這歌裡不想太多事情的意義,
I did not think too much about the meaning of things
也沒有欲求成功的目的。
or have any ulterior motives for writing the song.
只希望在穿梭的道路,閃躲之際,
I simply wish that as you dodge through the traffic,
有一條簡單的旋律,指引你專心…
a simple melody would lead you to mindfulness.
但並不企圖,征服你。
Yet, I do not intend to conquer you.

寫一首歌讓你帶回去,
I wrote a song for you to carry with you
在我關上車門以後,坐上電梯。
and took the lift after closing the car door.
這歌裡沒想甚麼事情的意義,
I did not think too much about the meaning of things
也沒有欲求成功的目的。
or have any ulterior motives for writing the song.
只希望在重複的日子,激情退去,
I simply wish that when days become the same, and your passion recedes,
有一個生活簡單的人,溫柔堅定。
there’s a gentle and determined person living a simple life.
但並不企圖穿透你。
Yet, I do not intend to see through you.

.
It was a subtly poignant song, ‘the definition of love’, I wrote to my pen pal.

All is lost now.

I was inexperienced in love, innocently relishing in the joy and pain, the (in)convenient fantasy, of my unrequited loves.

Then literature taught me two things: One, the magical consolation bestowed by repetition; Two, the persona’s denial of ‘ulterior motives’ is a passive way to bring up the subject, and call attention to the addressee’s ignorance.

Then I met my first love, who brought me to unveil the masquerades of my weaknesses and vices—some of which he wished to cleanse.

Then my intimacy with the mathematician prompted me to acquire a new language. A language of rationality to somehow verbalise and communicate my irrational temperament and its roots.

Then my reading preferences, a.k.a. my love religion, shifted from John Donne to Alain de Botton.

Then I begin to understand my unconditional love was perhaps a result of having no other choice, rather than a saintly will which I had romantically assumed.

It remains a subtly poignant song, yet a definition of love that I am, now, in no position to claim.

I’d wish, nonetheless, to be as Zen as the persona, in love and in life.

:::::

NicolaNicola Chan Oi Ching is a BA graduate in Stylistics and Comparative Literature (Class of 2015). She is currently a reporter for Young Post. [Click here to read all entries by Nicola.]

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