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Cat’s Eye in a Splintered Mirror: 5

by Xue Di

translated from the Chinese by Hu Qian and Keith Waldrop


In bad weather, certain words
touch my heart, acquaint me with those people
in a faraway place. Burning in the fireplace
is wood more ready to give itself to flames
than wrought iron. A heavier rain is
coming. One solitary bird soaring slowly
forces the sky lower and lower. That letter
is still in my hand. Fog
rises through the narrowest canyon

Now I climb down the landscape
believing that in another direction
the central gate remains open
There birds flock together, betrothed deer
follow the single man returning homeward
At sunset,woods at the sharp bend
stand staunchly erect, behind them
brilliant mountain peaks. Atop
Mount Santa Cruz rises a Korean pine, its
tip glittering with light, but the entire
trunk caught in that deep and
vast darkness up there

 

Xue Di’s published works in English translation include Another Kind of Tenderness, Forgive, An Ordinary Day, Circumstances, Heart into Soil, and Flames, and in Chinese, Trembling and Dream Talk. His work has appeared in numerous American journals and anthologies and has been translated into many languages. Xue Di is a two-time recipient of the Hellman/Hammett Award. (4/2005)

Hu Qian is currently working toward his PhD in Translation Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has translated several books for various presses and published a number of papers on translation and interpretation. (4/2005)

Keith Waldrop teaches at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and, with Rosmarie Waldrop, is editor of the small press Burning Deck. His Silhouette of the Bridge received the America Award for Poetry for 1997. He has translated, among others, Anne-Marie Albiach, Claude Royet-Journoud, Paol Keineg, Dominique Fourcade, Pascal Quignard, and Jean Grosjean. (4/2005)


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