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Frustration Translation

by Sophie Grimes

after Han Shan

In the night’s firm or
                        remote or close black, public stars tick light or
                                                                                    tick against the moonlight or
                                                                                                enumerate the night.

The orphan lamp. No, the lonely light.
                        That’s not right: the isolated lantern of the not yet sunken moon.
                                                                                    Or of the hasn’t deepened moon. Yet to become
                                                                          grave moon. Not yet but already too much moon    
                                                stains the rocks. Rocky cliffs, I mean, crag points.
                                                                          Well, something dots the rocks.

The robust light of the fat moon, no, the cat satisfied moon
            does not obliterate its lustrous jade-like stone. Or, the moon’s light
                                    does not grind down or does not pester the transparencies.
                                                            Okay, moonlight cannot polish stone. 

Hanging on the youthful or black
                                    day or sky
            or, just hanging overhead, is my heart. A heart. Or mind. Yes, the center, or a piece
                                                                                    of my mind is suspended in the sky.


Sophie Grimes has lived and traveled in China as an Oberlin Shansi Fellow, and again as a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Boston University, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 491 Magazine, CRATE, and Spoon River Poetry Review. Second runner-up for the 2011 New Letters Prize for Poetry, she lives in Chicago, where she is completing her first book of poems. (2/2012)

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