More poems and contributor notes in Chinese feature



Bei Dao

Bei Dao

Black Map

in the end, cold crows piece together
the night: a black map
I've come home — the way back
longer than the wrong road long as a life

bring the heart of winter
when spring water and horse pills
become the words of night
when memory barks
a rainbow haunts the black market

my father's life-spark small as a pea
I am his echo
turning the corner of encounters
a former lover hides in a wind
swirling with letters

Beijing, let me
toast your lamplights
let my white hair lead
the way through the black map
as though a storm were taking you to fly

I wait in line until the small window
shuts: O the bright moon
I've come home — reunions
are less than goodbyes
only one less

The Rose of Time

when the watchman falls asleep
you turn back with the storm
to grow old embracing is
the rose of time

when bird roads define the sky
you look behind at the sunset
to emerge in disappearance is
the rose of time

when the knife is bent in water
you cross the bridge stepping on flute-songs
to cry in the conspiracy is
the rose of time

when a pen draws the horizon
you're awakened by a gong from the East
to bloom in echoes is
the rose of time

in the mirror there is always this moment
this moment leads to the door of rebirth
the door opens to the sea
the rose of time

Road Song

in the oblivion between the trees
the lyric attacks by dogs
at the end of an endless trip
night turns all the keys of gold
but no door opens for you

a lantern follows
the ancient principles of winter
I walk straight toward you
as you open the fan of history
that's folded in an isolated song

the evening bell slowly questions you
echoes answer for you twice
dark night sails against the current
tree roots secretly generating electricity
have lit your orchard

I walk straight toward you
at the head of all foreign roads
when fire tries on the heavy snow
sunset seals the empire
the earth's book opens the page of this moment