Poetry / May 2010 (Issue 11)

Three Improvisations

by Zhang Taozhou, translated from the original Chinese by Nick Admussen


* * *

The East Gate

Some people go out through the east gate
but when they come back, its silvergray iron's shut tight.
Rain is falling, everything's pitch
on the stairs there linger the
impressions of their footsteps walking
and radiant heat.


Somebody listens.  But now
the bluster outside has swallowed the snow noise
snow softly touching down
warmth right to the bone
the branches didn't droop at all
as they curled around the black slope


Writing's inspiration comes from the winter
in winter, I can
lie in wait here on my porch
just let the light surge and shrink
of course there is also the summer, the fall
like specks sieving down between fingers

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