Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lost Way

Photo by awyn
A being
wandering the wood
enters fear
and the mind can't help
lions and tigers coming forth
and those hungry ghosts
of childhood's hell mirrored
as if alive now, parading out of the past.
At first he walks slow
Pretense of the benign and no worry in
One step and another and then the stalking
rushing rustle from behind,
as if pursued, so dare not
turn the face back to see it.
The wood darkening,
tigers, lions, and these ghosts of the heart
more vivacious, movie-like.
Alas, fleeing
one foot eastward
one westward,
and then suddenly where is
the road after all.
The real tiger may have ravaged him,
or was it his own fear.
The wood remains as its usual self
radiating in a gold-rimmed dusk.
The way clear enough
a vivid light—
only few recognize
and walk out on it.

-- Yang Jian

Translated by John High and Kokho. From: Talisman Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry, edited by Zhang Er and Chen Dongdong. This poem appeared as one of several "New Poems from China," in Fascicle Two /Winter '06-'07.

Yang Jian [杨键] was born in 1967 in An Hui province. He started to write poetry in 1986 and won the first Li-An Liu poetry prize in 1995. His poetry collection, Dusk, was published in 2003. He is a Buddhist monk living in seclusion.

[John A. Crespi met with Yang Jian at the First China Poetry Festival in 2005 and discusses his poetry here.]

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