Rental Movie

In a dream, the flickering screen                                                                                                             a name that’s easily forgotten.

In a world, where things are overflowing,                                                                                           there’s always something that’s missing.

A recognizable voice                                                                                                            Ambiguous feeling

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Under One Small Star by Wislawa Szymborska

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all.
Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don’t rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
My apologies to the felled tree for the table’s four legs.
My apologies to great questions for small answers.
Truth, please don’t pay me much attention.
Dignity, please be magnanimous.
Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.
Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.
My apologies to everyone that I can’t be each woman and each man.
I know I won’t be justified as long as I live,
since I myself stand in my own way.
Don’t bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light.

Wislawa Szymborska

***

This is my absolute favorite poem by the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska. If I would like people to remember me through a poem, then this would be that perfect one. The playful irony and use of words in presenting our everyday human experience is just so whimsical. Should we say sorry or be thankful for all the things in this mundane existence?

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Goodbye

I love you but sometimes I don’t know if love is true.
Thinking again and again until this feeling will numb
the occasional sadness brought about by the unknown.
If we are the same
Then how come we are not together.
Being lonely for too long doesn’t assure someone to get better.
I will live. Live to see your happy days.
So dance
Dance more, whether we are together or not.
Our struggles will give us strength to never lose heart.

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HEBE 田馥甄 – Insignificance

Insignificance” is an electro-ballad rarely seen in the C-pop world. The concept is inspired when Hebe Tian shares one of her favorite poems with her colleagues, “Under One Small Star” by Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska:

“Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.”

Enchanted by the verses, she hopes lyrics in her new album can be similarly passionate between tranquil lines. With the help of famous songwriter Chow Yiu-fai, “Insignificance” captures her reflections and concerns to life and earth with poetic words.”                                                     – HIM International

English translation by Chow Yiu Fai, lyricist of the original Chinese version.

A bustling city breeds a lonely polar bear.
An innocent child runs across a filthy dump.
Confusing memories always remind me of those dedicated moments.
While the hideous world sometimes reads me a beautiful poem.

Now I know, the darkest sky shows the brightest stars
For all the things done, for all the things yet to be done, for you and me, for all of us who are still alive
Now I know, a magnificent doubt, an insignificant me
To all the butterflies and robins, to all the bodies and souls, to all of us,
should I say thanks, or sorry?

Is the harshest separation destined for the gentlest reunion?
Our simple hope is never meant for our complicated time
Now I know, the darkest sky shows the brightest stars
For those who have pained, for those who have wronged, for you and me, for all of us who are still alive

Now I know, a magnificent doubt an insignificant me
To all the soil and dust, to all the bodies and souls, to all of us,
should I say thanks, or sorry?

In a universe, speechless, there are always the brightest stars
They disappear, they appear, and some day they will forgive you and me

Now I know, a magnificent doubt, an insignificant me
To all the love and hate, to all the bodies and souls, to all of us,
I should say thanks, and sorry.

***

I love the poetic message of this song. Yes, it is not a love song. It is very different from those songs that dominate the pop genre nowadays. It doesn’t talk about the cliches commonly used in the genre since time immemorial.

For me this song is about the gigantic ego of humans that when defeated can definitely become insignificant in nature. We are like the lonely polar bears struggling to survive in the melting Arctic. We live in a bustling city, so busy, so noisy, we can’t even hear our own souls telling us our true desires and thus confusing our thoughts with stupid ideals and closing our hearts and minds to what is really essential. But despite all the turmoil, the complicated world and self-doubt, we can still find our way through the darkest sky and find our own bright star. We also have to live in the sense where we consider the things around us and learn to accept that we exist in a world where other creatures are significant and like us, they also need to survive. Just because we “think” we are on the top of the food chain doesn’t mean we are the greatest among the living.

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“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd – The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”
                                                                                        – Fernando Pessoa
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The happier he seems, the more he feels sad.                                                                         He’s not scared just afraid he won’t be able to let go.

She could have taken joy in his joy and be happy but like any human beast,                             she’s selfish and is determined to chase her own kind of happiness.

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Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara

The simplest of things can be an incredible experience if you’re doing it with the right person.

Having a Coke with You

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

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