THE CITY OF GOLD
Ah! Into a pleasant hallway of gold
Thou did the crystal of the sky mould.
A shining City of Gold
Chanting unto me from far afield.
Into the golden gate I strode
A palace colossal to behold.
Without, a soaring Tower did dazzle
A towering wondrous Grand Castle.
It seemed to the past a billion years I travelled.
Perchance, a primal giant my eyes beheld;
In the breeze his sleeves fluttered.
A transparent golden Robe uncluttered;
The appearance was holy, hallowed.
With a sweet smile they bellowed
As tall as a mountain they loomed
But as light as birds they seemed.
Into a golden palace I sauntered
To regard the sacred giant
His body was like the Sun
Enveloped by a golden flame.
In the hall at the centre he sat
Where bloomed many a huge lotus
Some golden giants too were there
Sitting on the lotus flaunting a smile.
In that Grand Palace studded with gems
Hung an enormous mound of gold;
A mellifluous song lulled all along
Rumbling like thunder, causing concussion.
On the front wall I saw engraved
In a noble script, an impressive word;
Resplendent and magnificent, the whole palace
Was filled with fragrance – wonderful, intoxicating.
Clouds with golden wings
Were flying over: all a mirage
A blossoming thrice wonderful
Blooming in the garden outside the temple.
I saw a towering Castle
Like a mountain, upright in the sky
Brilliant design, gorgeous styling
As if God had built it Himself
Colourful gems shine like a mosaic,
A medley of all kinds of strange drawing;
A round gold tower
Like a forest stands in space.
A broad circular Gallery then I saw
Surrounded by the golden castle
Each column was as high as ten thousand meters
Carving out numerous exquisite images.
I walked into a great hall,
I saw some huge statues
Like a group of golden giants
Smiling unto me.
I crossed a huge arch
Into a golden hall
To see a huge picture
Hung on the hall wall.
Each portrait of a transparent flash
Could draw a Golden Paradise
As if a three-dimensional space
Magically unfolded before thine eyes
I heard a mysterious music
Which made my heart take wings
A huge picture of the holy girl
On a plucked instrument was manifest.
She sat in a huge palace
A giant circle around the ring seat
Every giant smiled and smiled
Curling around a golden flame
This girl's elegant posture
Wearing a golden dress
Body shining like a huge halo
Resembling the head of a golden sun.
A huge palace like a fortress
Outside the temple was the endless Garden
Flying golden feather bird
The garden with its pavilions, terraces and open halls
A blossoming of the wondrous exotic
Giving out an intoxicating fragrance
Like a sweet girl
With her model of elegant charm
A sparkling waterfall
Circling along from the hill
As a crystal emerald
Haunting this amazing Garden.
A group of boys and girls:
Dressed in bright and colourful clothes
Some would sit and rest in the Pavilion
Some would walk in the flowers, in the game.
I saw a huge old man
Sitting in a red cloud.
Only a crane flew around
And there was a huge Phoenix.
Another city in the sky
Far from the golden light
At a grand chic
The sky stood in layers
I seemed to hear the call of the divine
The old man came leisurely.
He lifted a huge golden book
And a kind of novel language I heard spoken
I saw a great line of words
Like a row of golden giants
They turned into a ray of light, and,
Suddenly flew into my chest.
My body was sweet and happy
The moment turned momentous
The sacred old man stood beside me
His smile filled the air of the city.
I became a golden giant
Beckoned back to the golden castle
Then came a giant
Who smiled and called out my name
Our bodies were just as big
We were like twin brothers
And Lo! This huge golden castle
Seemed to belong to us.
All of a sudden I saw a vision
I too was a holy giant
In every palace in the city of gold
I too had left my glad imprints.
Yuan Hongi, Jining City, Shandong Province, China
Translator – Manu Mangattu, Aruvithura, India