Wang jiaxin:

A Winter Poem (excerpts)


1
Years later he again climbed the Great Wall, and felt the power of its uselessness.

2
Snow still falls, closely woven and almost invisible in the gloom: like a kind of love, still caressing the land wearied from another year of toil.

3
Raising my head from my winter writings, I once again felt my Beijing; a city right in front of my eyes and far off in another century.

4
He will always be a child stuck in mud. He yearns to cry, but hasnít learned to curse.

5
Since winterís arrival, fog has reappeared on the field. Perhaps the fog is a language too, a voice of the field, muttering as it wafts across the road before slipping away into the marsh.

6
A father writes a letter to his far off son. At last he finishes, and rips it up⎯ a surfeit of pain, with no one left to inherit.

7
Last night a cold front swarmed in, and this morning the fields shone silvery-white. The frost-tipped weeds glistened on the roadside. A cold wind still stirs. If the ocean were beside us, it would certainly be an illusion. It would certainly turn blue in this bone-penetrating force.

8
He burns away his earlier writings as if evading his taxes. He will keep burning, until he's nothing left in the world.

9
This winter has aged almost everyone I see. You will grow older still, old enough to look towards the direction of youth.

10
A friend from the city has come to the countryside to appreciate the snowscapes. Why not move out here? You can watch the bursting afterglow of dusk, and listen with us to the northwest wind rising from the night, whistling from the fissures between our two souls.

11
It isn't when the fog lifts, but rather when a longing for home becomes all the more clear, that we finally pay attention to the existence of a horse.

12
So many new pubs popping up, but Paris it is not. What is missing? It lacks a river, flowing out from our bodies; a wind, rising from substance.

13
Years later he again unrolled the Qingming River Scroll: not for its transcendent brushstrokes, but to return to everyday life; to move among carriages and oxen; to yield to the power of life itself; to sell his soul to the bordello next to the big willow.

14
It isn't an ache, but rather a bodily twitch that comes from a certain kind of writing.

15
Again a blast of northwest wind chases from the rear. How difficult it is to drive when guided by the snowy fog! You keep your eye on the road, but thereís more out there than the road itselfÖ

16
A stage is raised. Only a clown can bring holidays to children.

(translated by Kyle Borner)



from A Darkening Mirror


1
Loving trees and stones: the root of all ethics.

2
The Age advances, and at dusk more girls appear, with tinted hair, beckoning from the roadside. Why not pull over? What have you left to be proud of? Do you really think your noble soul, compared to one of their combs, is more enduring?

3
Though the wine lies heavy on your mind, forgotten wounds stab sharper than a spike.

4
Someday youíll recall the little restaurant buzzing with flies on the edge of Beijing: how we sat gazing at the glorious lights of the far-off Hilton, seeing for the first time how humiliation smites the destitute.

5
Airport shut down, a blizzard madly filling in the sea; no homecoming, but one kind of dialogue, grown difficult.

6
Those who know how to live in deep cold save a plot of earth in the yard to sow sunflowers.

7
Time to take down your ex-loverís painting, but under the eye of the new mistress of the house, where can you put it?

8
Having lived from then till now, belief is hard, but disbelief is terror.

9
Gold corn moldering, crops rotting in the field. Old man on the doorstep, staring in the soft autumn rain. What makes you turn from bitter glances? Why are you always ashamed to write poems about fruitless human labor?

10
If a donkey claims heís a Great Poet, you bow solemnly, for this is The Land of Poetry.

11
As you grow old, that first thin gleam of scorn in your sonís eyes comes like an undeserved gift on a holiday long awaited.

12
This is the music I love, coughs from the audience as the master performs: I resume my seat in darkness.

13
Itís not that youíre growing older; your mirror is just darker.

14
Itís not that youíre growing older; dining alone just takes longer.

15
Itís not that the hometown girls are loose; just that the sailor back from the storm went blind long ago.

16
Daily you polish your roomís pine floor. To prepare for life with a barefoot angel who never appears? There is no angel. From a corner of your ceiling descends a fat spider.

17
You arise in the morning and listen to the organ, at dusk the violin, and evening the piano; but awakened at night, you hear unending silence.

18
Restoring faith in life is like stamping your feet in winter; warmth returns, then you stride off further in the snow.

19
Years since your last trip to the zoo: sheís still drawn to the Hall of Snakes, but as you no longer wish to see tigers or swans, you head straight for Monkey Hill, thronged with children.

20
When his lifetime of writing is finished, like a term of hard labor, I think heíll step from the room and look far away, murmuring to himself: Child, now I feel the sunís warmth, and from your garden hear your daughterís laughter . . .

(trans. by John Crespi,Diana Shi & George OíConnell)


Wang jiaxin:

Wang Jiaxin, poet, critic and professor of Chinese at Renmin University of China. Born in 1957 in a small town in Hubei Province, In 1978 he entered Wuhan University as one of the first group of college students after the Cultural Revolution. In 1985 he came to Beijing and worked as an editor for the journal Poetry (Shikan). From 1992 through 1994 he sojourned in England . In 1994 he returned to China and got a teaching position at Beijing Teacherís College. Since 2006 he has been teaching creative writing in the School of Literary Studies at Renmin University in Beijing.

Wang published the following books of poetry: Memorial (1985), Floating Precipice (1997), Poetry of Wang Jiaxin (2001), and Selected Poems of Wang Jiaxin (2008). The collections of his literary and critical essays include Meeting of Human and the World (1989), A Nightingale in Its Time (1997), The Passion for Concealment (1997), Poetry Without Heroes (2002),Seeking a place for phoenix: on modern Chinese poetry(2008),Regale me with snow(2010).

Wang is also a translator of Paul Celanís poems and an editor of many poetry collections: Selected Chinese Contemporary Experimental Poetry (1987),20th Century Foreign Poets on Poetry (1992), Collected Writings of Yeats (3 vols., 1996), Poems from Modern European and American Poets (3 vols., 2003), Chinese Poetry in the 1990s (2000), Best Poems of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (2003).

Jiaxin Wangís poetry has received critical recognition in China. He is regarded as one of the most important poets of China in the last twenty years.His poetry has been translated into many languages and he had readings in many countries in the world.
 


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