Suffering Does Not Destroy the Possibility of Suffering
Suffering does not destroy the possibility of suffering, andliving does not do away with the art of self-hallucination. Inthe space of a life, the shellfish that pass through the cracksin the coral are a hidden, infinitesimal music which a hugeband is now playing, and the people march from the crackstowards a magnificent future. Yes, it is true, light will scatterfrom the lowliest of places, and all the ugliest of smellsare omens for war, but I sit on the rubbish pile singing,singing a song about the marriage of plastic and fire, a songwhich will sing the recluse underground up to the surface.When he comes to the surface the flowerless fruit will bloom,the shells will offer a crooked way out, and everythingonce again will descend, repeating until infinity. Just like this,he says, suffering does not destroy the possibility of suffering.
Copyright © 2019 translation by Stephen Nashef
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Ma Yan was born in Chengdu, China, in 1979 and graduated from Beijing University. A novelist, critic, editor, and organizer of literary festivals and events, she also worked as editor of and contributor to Felicity Troup. Her poetry has been published in Today, Foreign Literature, Big River South North, Book City, Chinese Poetry Criticism, Southern Weekend, Shanghai Culture, Limits, and In Chengdu. Ma Yan committed suicide on December 30, 2010, in Shanghai.
Michigan Quarterly Review is an eclectic interdisciplinary journal of arts and culture that seeks to combine the best of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction with outstanding critical essays on literary, cultural, social, and political matters. The flagship journal of the University of Michigan, MQR draws on lively minds here and elsewhere, seeking to present accessible work of all varieties for sophisticated readers from within and without the academy.
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