Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Guo Jinniu Poem

On a Building Site, Thinking Of A Length Of Old Timber

If I’m not at the site, I’m at the bothy.

Joiner, male, 30 years old. Stroking a length of old timber,
unlike the poet Liu Yong, forlorn,
the brothel banister.

The third floor chick is the cutest. Years ago
she was the one I wanted most to marry.
Held hands. Wept. Choked on unspoken words.
In the song ‘Bells in the Downpour’,
I chased her to the Song Dynasty,
phoned Liu Seven.

Brother Seven, Brother Seven,
every time the Plum Rains come,
the joiner’s hand touches some bit of the Song lyrics, an old love
impossible to curb.

Green plum. Bamboo horse. Old timber like that, a faint aroma in its heart.
No matter how many years go by,
she, she’ll never grow new branches, new leaves,
or blossom.


Trans. Brian Holton

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