under spring moon shining

13/11/2011
at the store©papa osmubal

at the store©papa osmubal

under spring moon shining
li nan

translated by steve schroeder and amy liang

You don’t know, in the clamor of the city
shopping for groceries, catching the bus, I am
in a busy crowd, shadows driven by desire.
Should Spring come, moon shining down,
I also will look down
to see sleeping grass wake.

Should moon shine down, I would enter wilderness,
calm the breath of an impatient world,
console spirits countless as the stars.
Should you become I, you would catch your breath.
On one side dreams of your youth flare up.
On one side snuff them out with life’s ordinariness.

Oh! Only what appears now inspires your faith.
Spring moon shining,
I, restrained, still touch everything —
Heart mixed with hunger and caution, a beautiful evening.

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that pair of dark eyes

26/06/2011
in the eyes of a child ©papa osmubal

in the eyes of a child ©papa osmubal


that pair of dark eyes

li nan

                   translated by Huichun (Amy) Liang and Steven Schroeder

I am gazing into that pair of eyes with heart aching
That pair of clear bright dark eyes.
They’ve seen orchards, wheat fields, slow rivers
Cars on the highway getting smaller and smaller.
Those clear dark eyes
Have seen earth’s warm side.
They’ve paid no attention to me, youth sunk low
Have not remembered a moment that flashed through
From beyond the window, the startled twinkling retreat.
Oh, how like my past–
I also looked so carelessly:
Fruit tree blossoms, wheat fields glistening green, river water shimmering
All the same all
Exactly the same.


in the wide world

26/06/2011
one with the tree ©papa osmubal

one with the tree ©papa osmubal


in the wide world

li nan

                    translated by Huichun (Amy) Liang and Steven Schroeder

In the wide world, I think to myself
All beings are one.
Birds and beasts, forests, still wilderness
Want to breathe, want to change inside quietly quietly……
Silent star, sorrowing stone
Want to speak, want to weep
Still want to scatter frost on empty wind.


heartprints

26/06/2011
chinese painting? ©papa osmubal

chinese painting? ©papa osmubal


heartprints

li nan

                     translated by Huichun (Amy) Liang and Steven Schroeder

Mama says “poet”
A wind flower snow moon feeling species
Most do not deserve the name–
Especially in this age.

But Mama! I’ve fallen in love with
This art handed down for such a long time
I follow it not for hope of making money, eking out a living, or changing
My destiny.

I love it because when it opens its joyful lips
There is at once a miracle in the human world.
And I need to stand in the eternal light of mid-year
Speaking for the gods.

Mama, I’ve just fallen in love with this
Sailor’s ship, this hero’s sword
I love this magical language more than
Flaubert loves his insects.


i have been in many places

22/06/2011
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


one day in xiahuai town

19/06/2011
chinese lady vendor ©papa osmubal

chinese lady vendor ©papa osmubal

one day in xiahuai town
li nan

                     (trans. amy huichun liang and steven schroeder)

Pingshan County, Xiahuai Town, westward from Shijiazhuang
A hundred kilometers.
Winding dirt road
Has borne so many vehicles over the years.
Today, facing the distance:
Xiahuai Town thirsty wheat fields, yellow.
I see a farm woman stoop to pick up water
Her shabby blue cloth
Intensifies the weight and poverty of Xiahuai Town.
This day, I also approach an old man at sundown
His tranquil smile and gesturing to the horizon
Make me truly believe
Even in a time hard as iron, he will not open his mouth
To tell Xiahuai Town’s
Profound secret.
At six in the afternoon, under an arched bridge, a placid lake surrounds
Xiahuai Town, black ink mountains
Fade one by one on the horizon.
Goodness! Every passing traveler is always passing
In this one day, I can bring back only scattered memories
Of Pingshan Xiahuai Town,
Sit between the lake and the low mountains
Regarding it
There is no one place we really know.


in the wide world

13/12/2010
bird©papa osmubal

bird©papa osmubal

in the wide world
li nan

translated by steve schroeder and amy liang

In the wide world, I think to myself
all beings are one.
Birds and beasts, forests, still wilderness
want to breathe, want to change
inside quietly quietly . . .
Silent star, sorrowing stone
want to speak, want to weep,
still want to scatter frost on empty wind.