These are unusual times. These poets are tale-tellers of their world.                  (All rights reserved.)
ISBN 978-0-9840097-4-9
21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 2 (Jan 2012)

This issue features  the poetry of   Ren Xianqing  任先青,  Song Huiyuan   宋惠元(柳思), Wa Dao 瓦刀, Wang Jiming 北陵王,  Li Zhuang 李庄,  Liu Chengyu 刘成渝, Zhang Zhanyuan 张占元, Wang Qiang 王强 (红石), Meng Ye 梦也, Liu Xuejun 刘学军, and Meifu Wang 王美富.

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Ren Xianqing 任先青

  • Insomnia  |  失眠之夜
  • Cold Silvery Rain  |  凉凉的雨丝
  • Alone at Night by the River  |  河边独坐的晚上

Song Huiyuan 宋惠元(柳思)

  • The Home of an Old Comrade  |  知青旧居
  • Late Afternoon in the Village  |  傍晚
  • On the Bus  |  在车上

Wa Dao 瓦刀

Wang Jiming 北陵王

Li Zhuang 李庄

Liu Chengyu 刘成渝

Zhang Zhanyuan 张占元

Wang Qiang 王强(红石)

Meng Ye 梦也

Liu Xuejun 刘学军

Meifu Wang 王美富

From 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 2

  • No more dew, only the monotonous frost,
  • and the wind returns with a frigid touch.
  • Here, with the sweet scent of dry stalks
  • is my soul, as smooth as porcelain.
  • .
  • But the river has run dry,
  • and no one expects any change.
  • A tiny innocent crab climbs ashore,
  • pinching my still-boyish toes...
  • — Ren Xianqing, Alone at Night by the River

  • Plainer than your youth,
  • that was how those houses looked, and their interiors
  • .
  • were as empty as the soul of that era…
  • but the moon always lit up your bedroom floor,
  • .
  • or was it night frost? Come to think of it, it’s nothing
  • less than amazing that your father and forefathers
  • .
  • lived above the fray of the cities, compared to you,
  • a mere bush hermit. But this house
  • — Liu Si, The Home of an Old Comrade

  • and drifting snow has nothing to cling to
  • will be lost into the vast abyss
  • like traveling money squandered,
  • like a flock of sheep fleeing the wolves.
  • A few will remain sound asleep
  • as the sun stays in its sheath.
  • — Wa Dao, Drifting Snow

  • I feel a new round of desires springing up in me ---
  • yesterday I passed by the pleasure house where
  • we made love again and again, and all day I was absorbed
  • in the memory and couldn't think or accomplish a thing.
  • So when the night quieted down, I drew your beautiful nude body from memory
  • on a large piece of paper
  • and stared at it with my sleepy eyes until dawn.
  • — Beiling Wang, On Love Fantasy of the Lowest Kind

  • Some of our friends have boarded a fire chariot
  • and left on a wandering journey,
  • but we still hold on to the tickets they left for us.
  • .
  • No one expects the departed to return
  • and give a cheerful account of the scenery.
  • These are open tickets, so let's not expect
  • a ticket inspection!
  • — Li Zhuang, Ticket Inspection

  • I raised my head and, out of the blue, you were there.
  • It must have been a dream. I said “Hello, Chrysanthemum” in a whisper
  • for fear my voice would break the spell.
  • .
  • Since we met last year, I had been preparing a path for you.
  • First I cleared the snow, then removed the stones,
  • and when I began to look forward to more sunny days,
  • you showed up unexpectedly.
  • — Liu Chengyu, Early-Blooming Chrysanthemum

  • Let me extract colors from the four seasons,
  • starting with the first day of spring until I reach winter solstice:
  • green from spring wheat, red from wolfberries,
  • yellow from golden rice, and purple from sweet eggplants.
  • .
  • I am now too old to climb a three-foot wall
  • and age spots snuck up at night to embarrass me,
  • but today I shall remodel
  • and adorn myself with a rainbow.
  • — Zhang Zhanyuan, Remodeling

  • I have the tendency of being transfixed;
  • for instance, this afternoon, that seems submerged under water,
  • I haven’t moved my eyes from the wall.
  • My eyes stare at where the sunrays leave their marks,
  • moving from the ground up the wall;
  • their waves now cover a wider swath than before.
  • — Wang Qiang, Afternoon

  • Children know many tricks.
  • They take me for something soft and sweet,
  • perhaps soft enough to cut up like a cake.
  • Sometimes they climb on me like a tree,
  • hoisting themselves up the trunk to pick fruits.
  • They do as they please, I don’t mind.
  • No, it doesn’t cause me pain;
  • in fact, I am pleased they are the way they are.
  • My comfort comes from the fact that a part of me
  • is being cut and picked away.
  • — Meng Ye, My Good Will

  • It’s after the quiet departure of a herd of sheep
  • that a gusty wind pushed through the mountain gap.
  • Before the wind came, I saw only the sheep
  • and their noble ragged clothing,
  • but the wind left a funny taste
  • of death in my mouth.
  • — Liu Xuejun, The Mountain Gap

  • Water droplets,
  • at the bottom of the gorge.,
  • leaping from the fall,
  • crashed into the cliff wall
  • and fell through
  • the dark chasm.
  • .
  • Winged angels of water droplets
  • awakened me from a dream
  • about an azalea
  • receiving mist
  • at the bottom of the gorge.
  • — Meifu Wang, Water Droplets