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  • God Comes to a Small Bus Station, and: A Small Town in Southern Jiangsu
  • Li Shaojun (bio)
    Translated by Ming Di (bio) and Kerry Shawn Keys (bio)

god comes to a small bus station

Three or five cottages,            one or two lights.Here I am, as small as an ant, nowhere in the middleof the grand Hulunbuir Grassland, having to spend a night            at a nameless stationalone, bearing the cold loneliness but feeling peaceful.

Behind me stands the tiger of a cold winter night.Behind that is a clear open road.Behind the road is the Ergun River flowing slowly,            a shimmering light in the darkness.Behind that is the endless birch forest,            the wilderness of wildernesses.Behind that are quiet stars low in the sky,            a blue velvet of soft curtain.

And behind that is the vast North where God resides. [End Page 65]

a small town in southern jiangsu

Between the metropolises lies a little kingdomof singing birds and streaming creeks.Yellow rapeseeds, the primary residents,are flowering in this season. A dragonfly and a butterflyare the permanent King and Queen.Deep tranquility is the keynote, so ancientYou can hear crickets quiver in the wind.Very few cars or horse carriages pass by.But something is happening in the slow zone between the fieldsand hillside, a historical moment so tragic and so earlyin the morning. Look at the grass and trees, their heads chopped off.I'm shocked. The forever peacefulness broken.The smell of dying vegetation is strong, and everlasting.This most violent and darkest hour in the historyof plants will be described lightly as "trimming." [End Page 66]

Li Shaojun

Li Shaojun 李少君 was born in 1967 in Hunan, central China. He lived in Hainan province (South Sea Island) for twenty-five years, working as editor of the journal Tianya. His poetry collections include Grassroots (2010), Nature (2014), and A Small Station Where God Arrives (2016). He is the associate chief editor of Poetry Monthly in Beijing.

Ming Di

Ming Di 明迪 is a Chinese poet based in the U.S. She attended Boston College and Boston University, where she taught Chinese. She has published six books of poetry in Chinese along with a collaborative translation, River Merchant's Wife (2012). She co-translated The Book of Cranes by Zang Di (2015) with Neil Aitken, and Empty Chairs: Selected Poems by Liu Xia (2015) with Jennifer Stern, which was a finalist for the 2016 Best Translation Book Award. She edited and co-translated New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (2013) and New Poetry from China 1917–2017 (2019). In 2013 and 2014, she received Henry Luce Foundation fellowships. A co-founder of Poetry East West journal, she serves as the China editor for Poetry International Rotterdam. She has also translates from English into Chinese, most recently Observations by Marianne Moore (2018).

Kerry Shawn Keys

Kerry Shawn Keys has published nearly fifty books, including poetry, plays, fiction, and children's literature. He is the recipient of NEA and Poetry Society of America awards, and translation awards from the Lithuanian Writers' Union. A member of International PEN, he is the Republic of Užupis' World Poetry ambassador.



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