Friday, February 20, 2015



   Grant me a favor. Give me to understand your mysterious lake.

   Let my white feathers, like eyes shedding expressions, float in your tranquility. The banked rushes,

row after row, are bent like ideograms. The long cries of geese drown out a secret. Tell me, isn't

that secret as chimerical as the sun-chiseled mountains? As enduring?

   I beg you to grant me a favor.

   Crossing the fields, I walk right into you, my worn feet tramping over your secret as if it were dew

in the grass.

   When I enter the lake, its tinted water swallows my skin inch by inch, and a strange and distant

memory comes back to me: my mother massaging my entire body. But her hands now lie at the

bottom of the lake. Motionless there. I walk into you as the sound of music, my most sacred

coronation, your tinted water swallowing my skin inch by inch. I'm in such a tranquil , such a lovely

dreamland, that even when I knock against the sickliest body, I am unable to wake with a start, I stay

asleep in the catapult.

   My lips will never recount anything. The world will not pour in or out of them. They sink into the

water and kiss the fish in the weeds. Like time, they take on a cold and lasting silence.

   Mysterious lake, let me enter you naked. Let my feeble song fall into your grasses like a length of

yellow ribbon. After you grant me this favor, I will enter the mystery. Break away. All the

misunderstood, let me distance myself from them. Distance, what a pretty hoax. I have lived a brief 

time and in a frenzy.  I loved poetry with my life. Was that not enough?


Xue Di
translated by Hil Anderson & Forrest Gander

"In China, to be a poet is dangerous.
To be a poet means to be honest,
tell people your true feelings.
When the political situation is rough,
writers will be the first group to be oppressed."

Xue Di