More poems and contributor notes in Chinese feature



Yao Feng (Yao Jingming)

for the miners who died in the Taiping mine

one corpse brought out
then another
black but hard
like worst quality coal

even in the explosion
these bodies felt no warmth

black smoke
brought these souls
from hell to heaven

in the land of the living
a cold wind has come

resources are lacking
we always need more

the crematorium has become one of the facilities
which keeps our country warm

white night

heart is all darkness
nothing seen
nothing heard
like a black cloth
over my eyes
and I'm longing
longing forever
for light
I told this
to a poet from Europe
she said that the people
in her land went mad
killed themselves sometimes
when days were too long
and too light

old horse

used to handlebars, pedestrians and cars
used not to running
dirty and flabby
skins like the dusk flayed
close to black night
the metal horse's hooves
make a grassland track much longer

I sit inside a noisy pub
you're there, head lowered
you've brought the big carriage
right up the slope
I don't know how it's said
in horse, but what I mean
to say's just this:
'old horse, let's have a drink'

Translated by Agnes Vong and Christopher Kelen