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"Excuses" - A Poem

Author: Joey Zhou

Music: Selected excerpts from "The Phantom of the Opera"



When the excuse for death is life,

I am your breath,

When the excuse of life is love

I am you!

Author's notes: Think about how many great poets in history have left us with catchy phrases, including Li Bai's "Quiet Night Thoughts", Du Fu's "Spring Night Xiyu", Li Qingzhao's "Slow Voice. Search and Search", and Yeats, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his poetry, "When You Are Old", a poem that is still popular today.


Therefore, whether the poems you write become widely circulated quatrains or not, Du Fu once said that "The words are not surprising and the death is endless". It's not even a literary prize that has the final say on the success of a poem. For example, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature held every two years at the University of Oklahoma is very serious. Haruki Murakami has repeatedly missed being selected. Of course, the Nobel Prize in Literature is certainly a world standard. Look at Tomas Tranströmer, who was selected by the Nobel Prize in 2011, you are lucky if you can read it. Because reading it will immediately realize a unique aesthetic meaning.


Let me talk about the poem "Excuses" that I wrote in February 2018. In fact, this is a love poem, and I even plan to take this love poem to the world to play in the ring, and see if I can choose the best love poem in the world. I have always had this ambition. Unfortunately, I went looking for original poems today, but I couldn't find the whole poem. Of course, I still vaguely remember the previous transitional sentences, an "airport of cappuccino " and "diffusion of white roses". Only these four sentences can stay and be recited repeatedly by myself. I remember an American reporter interviewed me on Valentine's Day at the Women's Club of Beverly Hills in 2019. I actually shook out the English translation of the last four sentences of this poem.

Yeats' "When You Are Old" only has "how many people love your radiant youth, and only one loves the painful wrinkles on your aging face." It is deeply moving. Love poems are written well, and it is estimated that they will have to be hurt. At least Yeats is like that, his deeply-loved Maud Gunni has been playing with his feelings. In the end, she did not even attend Yeats' funeral. Yeats really loves the wrong person. However, love for the wrong person has little to do with whether poetry can become a quatrain, or at least a paradox. The Nobel Prize for Literature has not forgotten him, and readers of later generations have not forgotten him.


It is not difficult to spend the time to write a longer poem for "Excuses", but I don't want to find it anymore. I do not want to fall into a feeling of pain and embarrassment by having only written four sentences, which is a quantrain by today's standards. It doesn’t matter if you send it to someone, as it could also be assumed that someone might have written it to us.

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