More poems and contributor notes in Chinese feature



Jimu Langge

Jimu Langge

from The Silent Revolver

The Coming of the Bimo

When feeling jinxed
I go invite the Bimo
and get some things ready
branches, grass
and of course a lamb

The Bimo sits at the head
bundling grass according to custom
and chatting genially
while a bowl of wine is placed before him

The lamb is led by the person leading it
its expression sedate and seasoned
as if it was raised by the Yi
from the time it was born to fulfill this duty
Actually, people and sheep are different
People, in a lifetime, have to experience many times
this spectacle
but sheep only have one chance
after which they will be slaughtered
The lamb head and pelt given to the Bimo
and the meat shared among everyone

At nightfall the Bimo sobers his smiling face
beginning the recitation
Rhythmically clear the scriptures are
akin to black people's singing
with the addition of eastern mysticism
The Bimo steadily lifts and swings the bells
a crisp ringing accompanying the reading words
It spreads into the darkness outside the room
and into the hearts of the people

The Bimo has come
Ghosts and goblins will be subdued
Man and beast will live in harmony

The famous Bimos are all very busy
In other villages
the same sound
resonates with the serenity of the evening
Even if outside cultures
are like the cows and sheep at nightfall
entering the mountain villages in waves

Friends from the Lowlands

I was born in the mountains
I grew up in the mountains
I think that one's environment is really important
as it guides my thinking
and emotions, virtues and shortcomings
When my lowland friends and I
are together, I don't recognize
how I am different from them
This goes against my point of view that
a fish is a fish, and a bird is a bird
Only crazy people and some poets
can make a fish into a bird
and a bird into a fish!

When I'm with my lowland friends
talking and going places
How can there not be a difference?
Mountains high as they are
The lowlands flat as they are
We partake in the same culture
Have the same kind of dealings
And even so many feelings
we similarly can't handle
so we go straight to the drink
I hope the difference is in the alcohol
I observe their attitudes
That cyclical way of drinking
shows that they're already uninhibited to the point
of not wanting to be anymore uninhibited
This made me feel at once high then low again

Just as I beginning to doubt
my own perspective
I finally realized a point
that I was different from them on
I try to dig up differences
and they probably never would

Morning in Lingnan

Coming out of a dream
The air so ordinary
I flip up my collar
Saying farewell to Lingnan's morning
Along the way are rows of
Fresh things

Translated by d.dayton