A Mid-Autumn Dream
someone has reaped
at twelve noon
I tell my daughter
that goldfish don’t understand what man says
she doesn’t believe it, instead
she brings a small stool to the fish tank
sits on it and starts telling a story of the fighting roosters
it ends in a while
and she comes over to make a cheerful
the fish did react to her just now
by swimming around first
and then making
The satin is so blue.
Golden grains keep falling.
I remember on another brilliant afternoon like today
threads of cloud lingering above, I dwelled
in the tiny pupils
of your glass-like eyes.
A laugh swelling on your teeth like rising tide
overflowed your lip and flooded
You took my hand, pressing a kiss on my pearl earrings.
One day, you said, you would marry a woman
We walked along the dike, the sea water rippling afar.
A fisherman on the shoal, bending down under a straw hat
stripped oysters from the mud and threw them into his bamboo basket.
After he left, the sun sank into the sea corner.
No dust in the air, the ground
sending off an odour of asphalt.
We sat down in a cookshop afterwards, in the scent of pepper
the flickering candle light, I felt I’d known you
Sitting in a high-back chair
to a room, which is not quiet
late at night
Having listened for a long time
I feel, sometimes, as if the door doesn’t exist
the wall isn’t there, either
In the wilderness
a sound, like a certain bird, startled
flies out of the high grass
against my ears
I remember one night
outside my door
a man repeatedly asked
his cell phone, “Are you at home?”
I listened awhile
feeling myself on the verge of a reply
“Yes, I am…”
* This translation has also appeared in The Canberra Times, vol. 92, 30th September 2017, the editors having given permission to republish it in Double Dialogues.
high on the terrace
an hour already
to the sound
of the droplets
the distant night sky
On September 5
the setting sun
has canary-yellow rind
with a tinge of red
in the middle
like a pomegranate
the one we forgot to pick
before the end of summer
after several days of rain
a streak of morning light
flows into my bedroom
it touches my spine
climbs onto the globe
flies past the Amazon
and the equator
taking away the roar of planes
over the Atlantic
before it finally lands
on my bookshelf
waking up Dante
I see beautiful, delicate women, like spotless
I see others, plain, vulgar and old
shoulders, abdomens and vaginas bear the weight
of a hundred men.
I see a prostitute gently stroking the holes
in her stockings,
a young mother clutching a quivering child
behind her husband.
I see some men, hard as stones.
I see others
whose skin is whiter
They wear gowns
to cover their hairy legs.
Before making utterances, they take out their artificial teeth
and put them into a jewellery box.
They make the black penis
in their mouth
declare the truth.
I see some dark places
in the world,
Cui Yuwei, born in 1983 in Xinyang, the southernmost sub-tropical city of the populous south-eastern province of Henan on the Huai River, a province regarded as one of the three ancient cradles of Chinese civilisation. After completing her masters in English literature at Wuhan University, she has taken a lectureship with Beijing Normal University in the Pearl River Delta city of Zhuhai, where she continues to practise as a bi-lingual poet and translator. Indeed, her work has been widely disseminated through literary journals in Australasia, India, North America, and Indo-China. She has recently published her first poetry collection, Fish Bones (Macau: Flying Island Books, 2017).