Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Song Xiaoxian Poem

A Life

I queued up to be born: I was a second child, neglected
I queued up to go to school: I was six and wasn’t welcome
I queued up to buy rice: I watched people fighting
after queuing up to go to the toilet, we
went to bed in a set order—gee,
I experienced so many things like that as a student

they wouldn’t let me into the hospital
that year I got really sick,
so I slept in a corridor
and was often startled awake by nightmares
my tears queuing up in the dark

then I fell in love, my lovers
queued up along the river bank
I queued up for housing, queued up for the marriage licence

waiting for ages in some corner
the days slip by in a queue
like the short, colourful skirts you wear out
my whole life got lost
in the smoke of the rank and file

then there’s all the humiliation
we queue up to be cheated
or to get raped by thugs
and before any of it makes sense
our hair queues up to turn grey
wrinkles chase one another like waves, muttering
one day, all our joy and sorrows
will queue up to leave for somewhere far, far away

(2005) Tr. Simon Patton

1 comment:

  1. To read more of his work, go to: