Thinking of Li Bai from One End of the Sky
A cool wind arises from one end of the sky.My friend, I cannot vouch for your intent.Migratory birds arrive & partDo we hold them to their schedule?How full of water are the lakes & riversIn Autumn!Good writingResents happy circumstances.Good writers are rarely spared.The demons of this worldTheir gargoyle facesAre made gladWhenever men of talent hobble.One ought to have a chatWith poets of the landPurported to haveDrowned. The wronged soulsWhether freezing water is their element. But for the likes of oneWe won't see again,Fish, fiends, & friendsI throw this poemInto the Miluo River.
Translation Copyright © 2020 by Wong May
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Wong May was born in 1944 in Chungking, China. She was brought up in Singapore by her mother Wang Mei Chuang, a classical Chinese poet, who taught school & wrote short stories. After graduating from the University of Singapore, she joined The Writers Workshop at University of Iowa in 1966. Harcourt Brace & World brought out her first book of poetry in 1969, followed by two other books in 1972 & 1978. In 1972 she was a visiting writer at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin. She is married to an Irish physicist & has lived mainly in France & Ireland. They have two sons. Dublin has been her home since 1978.
Her latest poetry collection is Picasso’s Tears (Octopus Poetry, 2014). She is presently at work on a book called My Life in Pictures.
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