Shang Zhen









Train with me, leaving hometown

Reluctant, but I have to


I wonder how many people are like me

Coming back once every few years

Bring hometown far away for long

In order to survive, alien land was called hometown

Too grievous


Hometown is not origin on the account

Not native dialect hard to change

It is DNA inside emotion


In alien land

Will say native dialect once happy

Will think of childhood playmate when depressed

When embarrassed to leave the city once making a living

But can not go back home

That drop of tears of sorrow and grief

Will revolve to salt


People over fifty often feel

The sun has the same temperature as the moon

Only hometown, is carbon ambushing dark fire


Train runs rapidly

I turned back to face the trail

And comforted myself

I was leaving hometown backwards



© Trans. by Grace Xie




Pulling teeth


Anesthetic needle taken

Those two men put my mouth

As a quarry

After sawing, drilling, smashing, prying

The doctor asked me: « Does it hurt you? »

I gave no answer

I will not tell the truth to those

Who manhandled my flesh


My flesh was anesthetized

My nerve was more subtle

The sound « thump, thump » of breaking my teeth was

Like barbaric demolition

I think: conquering human’s limbs and will is

More brutal than the disease


My teeth was pulled out

The hardest part in mouth was removed

But the hardest part in my body

Could never be removed by any tool



© Trans. by Grace Xie






To know the sound of breaking for the first time

Pleasant sound also

« Bang —- crashing »

Is sounded after the timpani

Orchestra and percussion appear at the same time


A porcelain of beautiful appearance

Flying from here to yond

Like elegant somersault of athletes dive from high platform

Bottles landed, flowers bloom


Bottle freed

Do not have to carry rigorous appearance for visiting

Do not have to hide the emptiness inside

No longer have to brush off the dust every day

Surface clean


Bottle is made for completion

Live for soundness

Crashing is due to accidents

While an accident may be practiced for many years


The first and also the last takeoff

Bottle, let porcelain

The ancient emblem

Instantly be reduced to dust



© Trans. by Grace Xie











Shang Zhen, born on April 1960 in Yingkou, Liaoning Province. He began to learn to write poetry in late 1970s. He has published « Smoke In the Desert », « White Paper Written for God, » and so on. He once worked for the « People’s Literature », and now is Executive Editor-in-Chief of « Poetry Periodical » which are both charged by China Writers Association.



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