A Poem For Thursday


“The Art of Poetry” by Bei Dao:

in the great house to which I belong
only a table remains, surrounded
by boundless marshland
the moon shines on me from different corners
the skeleton’s fragile dream still stands
in the distance, like an undismantled scaffold
and there are muddy footprints on the blank paper
the fox that has been fed for many years
with a flick of his fiery brush flatters and wounds me

and there is you, of course, sitting facing me
the fair-weather lightning that gleams in your palm
turns into firewood turns into ash

(Translated, from the Chinese, by Bonnie S. McDougall. From The Rose of Time: New & Selected Poems, edited by Eliot Weinberger © 2010. Reprinted with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. Photo by Flickr user Luciano Belviso)