A Cicada in the City 城市中的蟬

When spring rain slows down, Summer/summer gradually takes over. In May, I can hear different voices from the universe. The sharpest sound usually heard at this moment is that of cicadas. They seem to be set free, tirelessly cracking the sky with their thin transparent wings among the trees:


Another life cycle has begun: Stoutly, frogs follow the track of the cicadas, hopping [小心串字] and croaking at night beside fish ponds. Water lilies 睡蓮 spread their petals like those parasols done by Monet [法國十九世紀印象派畫家]; they whisper to each other under the burning sun while brooks gather momentum on their way to the mountain far beyond their reach [當名詞用].

Among the sounds produced in summer, there is (was?) one which I find most perplexing. That is, the sound of a cicada in the city.

Yes, in the city.

I had the same reaction as you do right now when I heard the cry of the cicada. I didn't know where it came from, but clearly it was a lonely wolf, wandering around the windowsills in the concrete jungle. Its cry was totally different from the sounds of the cicadas in the country: it stopped intermittently, never finished a harmonious line. Sometimes I had a strange feeling, that it was drunk.

Like a housewife 師奶 in Hong Kong, I once tried to find its whereabouts, giving it my warmest regards. My endeavor was doomed to failure. Now, I no longer hear its cry from my apartment.

It is gone, for good. Life is short, especially for a small creature like cicada. But for personal reasons, I would rather have it by my side so that we can share our common sadness.


Best Regards, my friend

by Thomas Shum