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Poems by Qian Sun 
Translated from Chinese by Xiaoyuan Yin 


The Encounter Between Snow and Cherry Blossoms
 
The melancholic should listen with more concentration 
to a voice beyond words.
Descending from the heavens of the sophisticated gyri 
the whispers sound so calm and limpid
like murmured prayers in the wind. 
Melodies of the multi-voice hymns are usually undistinguishable
in the slumbering bass of this world; 
only Bach’s fugue is immortal, 
fascinating ever more lost souls as time elapses.
We should define objects as actions in static state,
prone to breaking away from their linear time track. 
Think about it: connection with the majestic and the unknown. 
The architectures around you would
stoop down like monsters when you do not notice them.
On days like this, showcases all over the world are filled with personified fables.
A dial is there before our eyes, showing how many 
lives were exacted by the turbulence of time.
Calculable & decomposable, almost everything matches this model
I cannot be exempted either – 
my inflaming throat is plagued by smog and haze,
the tick-tock of the digital city keeps circulating in my veins.
But sooner or later, signs sent by God from above
will polish my eyes with the effervescing ferment of weather. 
At this moment, I have a letter at hand from a Japanese friend
in which he talks about tranquil places with fresh air in the mountains
and bells tolling from old temples in Kyoto.
He also mentions chagama, chawan and chasaku,
tells of Tea Rituals that require pious care
and their enormous genealogy. I never dare to touch
even a cup of tea rashly, just sit there pondering over
my cardiograph, which they have stirred. Did you know these words
and how they turned out to be corks against rising bile within me?
Vicissitudes endowed words with even stronger tacit power
and drove them into rotation, in a direction opposite that of modern machineries.
Our blood went through its sieve, left millions of
silver particles, dripping down
from the withering tree of spirits.

In an entangled net of clues, a blackbird started to sing
and a traveler happened to hear it.




 
Dusk Valley

This nameless graveyard is overrun with weeds. 
When I was strolling down here
I found a blue flower.
I do not know its name
or for whom it is blooming 
so fiercely with its solitary colors 
on the horizon at the end of the valley.
With abstract strokes like oil painted along it,
like some childish scribbles I had seen somewhere
recently.
There are pheasants crowing, echoing in the silence,
scattered under the trees 
and on the cliffs.
A drop of swiftly condensed light 
falls into the blood of my heart – 
I recognize you 
as the very first star
on the horizon.





 
Crested Ibis

She was given an oracle, warned by the unknown:
her final destination was where the dodo resides now. 
Dramatically, her white wings were fully spread at last;
she took off for a scarlet illusion at the end of her carefree flight.

The vast land was watching her from beneath.
There hung a gloom of reminiscence high over the earth, 
on lofty trees where she used to perch –
the realms of her ordinary vagrancy – 
they called her name and looked anxiously into the distance.

She did not understand why a band encircled her foot.
Did that mean that she was protected by the auspicious aura of God?
The aura shone deep in her amber eyes;
could it possibly be translated into immortality?

She was so elegant, at ease, innocent and fragile.
Though fallen from grace, an aloof cry rose from her red-tipped beak;
she bid adieu and then started her journey.
Her voice sounded exuberant, like her once matchless glory, 
clinging on the edge of the decadent world. 
The weight of feelings and impressions less obvious now
sublimated into substances elastic and durable –
the function of the universe was enriched and enhanced.

The connection between her and Nature, impossible to unravel, 
traced back to 6000 years ago 
to an oak forest in the Qin Mountains,
to the Upo Wetlands of Changnyeong and Toki Forest Park on Sado Island.

She was carrying the legend of a country on her back, 
flying over the snow-covered world, lost herself in the ruby twilight.
This heavy load like a bow with which she shot an arrow 
into the duality of existence 

Yes, her shadow on the history of species was too small to be marked.
She was here to measure the land, the sea, the sky, 
her little bones reflected into another longing soul. 

This beautiful bird snatched a shrimp or a fish from the creek,
and as she did, she stopped briefly over the ripples.
She stared at her reflection, gilded by sunset.
At that moment, the linear serenity through all things
merged into the endless skyline.


Author

Sun Qian is a Muslim poet, born in the 1950s in Bao Ji (“Cradle of bronzeware”), Shaanxi Province, China, while having roots in old imperial capital Luo Yang. He is the winner of Quyuan Poetry Prize (1992) and the 2nd ARTSBJ International Poetry Prize, as well as of several prizes for long poems. He has been engaged in poetry writing for more than thirty years, in a trident form of writing: a combination of neoclassical poetry, Islamic poetry, and artistic poetry. He published several books, including Book of Spiritual Strength (Yeqiang Publishing House 2003), The Crescent and Its Reflections (Ningxia Publishing Group 2013), The Muslim Trilogy (Fuchi Publishing 2013) and Sagittarius Rising (co-authored with internationally renowned artist Qiu Guangping (Chengdu Shidai Publishing 2012). Sun Qian also hosted several literary events, including a poetry recital and a new book release ceremony of Sagittarius Rising in White Night Culture Salon in Chengdu (March 2013). His works were translated into English, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic, and published in China and abroad.

YIN Xiaoyuan, Photo (Translator)

Translator

Yin Xiaoyuan (Yīn Xiǎoyuán, “殷晓媛” in Chinese) is an avant-garde, crossover epic poet, as well as a multi-genre and multilingual writer, founder of the Encyclopedic Poetry School (est. 2007), initiator of the Hermaphroditic Writing Movement and chief drafter of the Declaration of Hermaphroditic Writing. Yin Xiaoyuan graduated from the Beijing International Studies University. She is a member of the Writers’ Association of China, Translators’ Association of China, and Poetry Institute of China. She has published 11 books including 5 poetry anthologies: Ephemeral Memories (Dazhong Literature & Art Publishing 2010), Beyond the Tzolk’in (China Federation of Literary and Art Publishing House 2013), Avant-garde Trilogy (Tuanjie Publishing House 2015), Agent d’ensemencement des nuages (Encyclopedic Poetry School’s 10th Anniversary Series, Beiyue Literature & Art Publishing House 2017), and Cloud Seeding Agent (Pinyon Publishing, USA, 2020).

 

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