KR OnlinePoetry

Farewell to C. D. Wright

Translated from Chinese by Dong Li

Writing, a twilight word
lingers on the black keyboard
perhaps after exhausting the remaining years
the fortunate light will eventually pierce
your gloomy heart through airtight capillaries
there another Pleiades already slant westward
seven stars, like seven bonfires
have not died out
imagination, the queen of truth—
as Baudelaire said, would put on
turquoise earrings from Arkansas for you
and be satisfied with its own masterpiece
a blackbird still sings in your trimmed garden
as it delights in the new snow, as
the fictional queen flees
you hide in the shrubbery
and feel happy for the potatoes
that are boiling in the refugees’ wok
when the setting sun visits
again on the slope
the nameless dead

Author photo
Song Lin is one of the most distinguished and unusual poets from People’s Republic of China. Among his honors are poetry fellowships of Rotterdam, Romania, and Hong Kong Poetry Nights International, as well as the Shanghai Literature Prize. He has held residencies at Art Omi’s translation lab and Vermont Studio Center.

Dong Li is an English-language poet and translator from the Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Art Omi (formerly Ledig House), Yaddo, and elsewhere. His book-length translation of the Chinese poet Zhu Zhu was recently published by Phoneme Media.