i have been in many places

chinese statuettes ©papa osmubal

chinese statuettes ©papa osmubal

i have been in many places
li nan

                               translated by steve schroeder and amy liang

I have been in many places: crops link farmhouses
day follows night.
Flowery clothes dry in sunshine on fences
women winnow grain, sort beans
ocher ox bends, drinks beside canal
oh, it drinks earth’s boundless suffering

I love the lay of China’s land
because I have never traveled elsewhere.

I love the sunset on that ditch
and I love every dialect, the posture of peasants working
the angle of bending grass
a few burial mounds, people fading in the distance

this is indeed my motherland:
superstition and war stalk every inch of its skin
these are indeed my people:
in the wind, lives like reeds

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