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Manoa 15.1 (2003) 13-14

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Four Poems

Xu Huizhi

July Thirty-First

A usual day A humpback whale crosses the meridian
Flying fish in files on the sea
Leap up, from yesterday to today
In dreams angels guard the hourglass
Counting the time God gave us
An afternoon nap lasts a millennium
A gaze, will be an eternity
I know
This is one of those usual days
Sitting on the whale's back
We cross the meridian



Sorrow makes one age
When I grow old I pray that you
You will still be beside me
Under the scorching sun
Our saliva and our hairs
Will evaporate and burn, instantaneously [End Page 13]


Parched thunderclaps in the wilderness I can hear
Your drumbeat from far away
Purple hares softly weep
Stars lose their way on the snowy prairie

To the End of Thesky

Like a gale
A panther gallops across the prairie
And collapses suddenly
Wide-eyed gazelles die of thirst
An entire herd fallen by the waterhole
This is the summer of despair
A horror even greater than despair
Is spreading
A group of elephants in search of a gravesite
With no regard for distance
A blue hook of a moon
Hangs darkly at the edge of the sky
A conflagration will burn away all
O a conflagration will
Burn, from the seashore to the end of the sky



Translations by Michelle Yeh

Xu Huizhi is the pen name of Xu Youji, who was born in 1966 in Taoyuan in northern Taiwan. He has been editor of the China Evening Express and chief editor of the literary supplement of Liberty Times. He is now chief editor of Unitas, a leading literary journal, and has published many books of poems and prose.

Michelle Yeh is a professor in the department of East Asian languages and cultures at the University of California at Davis. Her most recent publications are Essays on Modern Chinese Poetry (1998); No Trace of the Gardener: Poems of Yang Mu (1998), cotranslated with Lawrence R. Smith; From the Margin: An Alternative Tradition of Modern Chinese Poetry (2000); and Frontier Taiwan: An Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry (2001), coedited with N.G.D. Malmqvist.



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