From Old Snow


Cover art by Shao Fei, (c) 1991 New Directions Publishing Corp., used with permission


Requiem (for victims of June Fourth)

Not the living but the dead
under the doomsday-purple sky
go in groups
suffering guides forward suffering
at the end of hatred is hatred
the spring has run dry, the conflagration stretches unbroken
the road back is even further away

Not gods but the children
amid the clashing of helmets
say their prayers
mothers breed light
darkness breathes mothers
the stone rolls, the clock runs backwards
the eclipse of the sun has already taken place

Not your bodies but your souls
shall share a common birthday every year
you are all the same age
love has founded for the dead
an everlasting alliance
you embrace each other closely
in the massive register of deaths



The Double-Side Mirror

We've seen in the mirror
things from a distant past:
a forest of steles, the surviving legs
of desks that were set on fire
and undried ink marks in the sky

The noise comes from the other side of the mirror

The upward path of the future
is a gigantic slippery slide
after knowing delirious joy
from the sage's position
we are born from the mirror

And stay here forever watching
the things from a distant past


The Letter

where are you
where is the straight of roses
where is the path through the fire
where is the peak that forgets its oath
where is the pear
whose body shuts like a clam
where is the pre-doomsday carnival
where is the flag's victorious star
where is the dense fog's centre
where are you
where are we


(c) 1991 New Directions Publishing Corp., used with permission

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