She is old
breasts sagging
like bags of flour
River runs from their hometown
people on two banks
change batch after batch
like summer fireflies
that glow and dim
But the river won’t change in its capacity
to reflect the moon
If impermanence still saddens me
I must be a fool

Translation of   "Fu fu lao gu jing. " Copyright Yang Jian. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Fiona Sze-Lorrain. All rights reserved.

她老了,

乳房也耷拉下来,

像一口袋面粉。

他们家乡的河水奔流,

两岸的人民

换了一茬又一茬,

像夏天的萤火虫,

一闪一灭的。

而河水映照月亮的能力

不会有什么变化。

如果我再为无常而悲痛,

我就是一个十分愚昧的人。

 

 




Yang JianYang Jian

Born in Anhui Province in 1967, Yang Jian worked as a factory laborer for thirteen years before writing poetry during the mid-eighties. Recognized as one of the greatest living Chinese poets, Yang Jian writes in the tradition of pastoral poetry. The author of Remorse (2009), Ancient Bridge (2007), and Dusk (2003)—rated as one of the top ten national poetry titles of the year, his honors include the Yiu Li’an Poetry Award, the Rougang Poetry Prize, the Yulong Poetry Prize and the Chinese Media Literature Award. Also a prolific ink and wash painter, he leads a Buddhist life in Ma’anshan, Anhui.

Translated from ChineseChinese by Fiona Sze-LorrainFiona Sze-Lorrain

Fiona Sze-Lorrain co-directs Vif éditions (www.vif-editions.com), an independent French publishing house in Paris, and co-edits  Cerise Press (www.cerisepress.com). Author of Water the Moon (Marick Press, 2010), she is a zheng concertist. She writes and translates in French, English, and Chinese.