Translation Tuesday: Shu Ting’s To Oak

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Love –
not only loving your majestic figure,
but also the stance you firmly hold,
the earth under your feet.

To Oak 致橡树 is a classic love poem that paints love as two trees standing side-by-side, supporting each other while remaining individuals, a love that is based on a common faith and goal that is beyond the surface.    Misty Poet Shu Ting wrote the poem in response to a traditional view of  love based on idolization and self-sacrifice, in particular by the female in the relationship.

I’m going to apologize in advance appropriating feminist poetry for a pair coming out of an amazing but unfortunately misogynist production team, but this poem fits the platonic love that is Ming Lou (Jin Dong) and Ming Cheng (Wang Kai) in The Disguiser so much.  So close are their dreams that they can finish each other’s paintings of their ideal home; so deep their trust that they have had absolutely no secrets to each other even though they’ve had not a single honest conversation with anyone else in the show; so connected their souls that the main mode of communication is gazing into each other’s eyes.

To Oak
by Shu Ting
translated by idarklight

If I were to love you —
I would never be the vines of the morning glory,
borrowing your tall branches to flaunt myself
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