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  • Three Pines Grow on a Northern Seashore, and: This is the Blackest Black
  • Wang Yin (bio)
    Translated by Andrea Lingenfelter (bio)

three pines grow on a northern seashore

three pines grow on a northern seashorestrong winds constrain their heightlike hair under the constant scissoring of a barberthese pines grow horizontally, flat-crowned

beach. ocean. lighthouse. coastlineonly three stubby pinesthese trees of the cold zonesprout huge cones on their dark branches

high heels leave deep divots in the sandsummertime and boys are under the trees casting fishhooksthat headless fish and those seashells flungupon the shore can never return to the sea

I don't know how these pines on this northern shoremight look in the winteror if the mussels will still be dying on the beachor if the gray waves will still be striking the feet of these trees

I know only that far away, in the Eastdreaming of my love, I may somedaylower my head and suddenly remember these three pineson the wild shores of Brittany [End Page 127]

this is the blackest black

This is the blackest blackI cannot see through this darkness tothe sand on top of my feetnor can I see the wavering shadowsOnly dense stars like grains of saltfloating overhead

After yesterday, before tomorrow,every day marked by the same mistakesand endlessly repeatingtheir radiancetheir fugitive radianceTheir fugitive and unreliable radiancehas already set out

Rapidly accelerating, flickering specks, are theyspeeding airshipsor the silent whispering ofinterstellar space itselfperpetually hot as lightningand cold as fire

If the starry sky surrounding the dust and uswas suddenly rent apartif it all collapsed without warningthe nameless Buddhas in the caveswould not feel any painThose headless Buddhascannot be conquered againIt is only we who can never again be ourselvespoets Duo Duo, Jian Zhao, Lan Lan, Ye Zhou, and I [End Page 128]

Wang Yin

Wang Yin 王寅 was born in 1962 in Shanghai and is a poet, photographer, and journalist. His publications include: Selected Poems of Wang Yin, and Art Is Not the Only Way (interviews with artists). His book Limelight won the Jiangnan and Dong Dang Zi poetry awards. He lives and works in Shanghai.

Andrea Lingenfelter

Andrea Lingenfelter is the translator of The Last Princess of Manchuria (1992) and Farewell My Concubine (1993) by Li Pik-wah (Lilian Lee), and Candy by Mian Mian (2003). Her other translations include The Changing Room: Selected Poetry of Zhai Yongming (2012), winner of the Northern California Book Award, and The Kite Family (2005), a collection of Hon Lai Chu's surrealistic short fiction, for which he was awarded an NEA translation fellowship. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.



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