Saturday, March 10, 2012



Bei Dao in English translation reads to me like the poems I've tried and failed to write all my life—

Here's one as transed by Bonnie S. McDougall and Chen Maiping:


The window makes a frame for the sky
the sky's in my collection

A black rubber mountain range
the century's evening
people who name stars can hear
the bugle sobbing
the metal's difficult breathing
a metal infant is born
inside earth's fence
on the open book of mankind
a peasant's hut curses loudly to the fields
the fan falls ill
the wind which interrogates the seasons drowns in the sea
shifting the thousands of lanterns which
light the way for the souls of the dead

The window makes a frame for me
I'm in the sky's collection