Entering a Grain of Snow
I, guided by limpid souls, enter a grain of snow.
The sacred peak of the snow, as legend has it, has white clouds circling around it.
The seawater below the peak has shells.
And there are spots of blue sky on them.
The Fish Language
We communicate in fish language.
We dive into water and swim towards the sky.
We share the same strange interests or sudden sadness.
Water enters running into my blood. I try to translate a certain ancient and pleasurable detail——
A page of codes. A line of inscriptions. A gift of dream.
But the eternal untranslatable, your bronze mirror of lotus pattern, the wise words you have planted, the forgotten things of mine after you met me for the first time, your bravery and benevolence.
Your dawn of millet seedlings, at this very moment.
Silent Things Have Nothing to Gain
The wind has carried off more fallen leaves.
The wind is blowing the empty orange trees.
The hands of light dance the momentary flowing after-glow on the branches. The fruit laid aside.
These are the ones that have caused the passers-by to forget: the fruit of the orange tree that lacks in the skills of speculation and serious passion. Each of them barefoot, asleep, their juice crushing the sundowning at dusk.
Silent things have nothing to gain. In a morning when the ground is yellow and flowers open, a river carries them away. They bear the running waters as the running waters bear these things. When the next season arrives, the riverwater turns cool and they’ll return, soundlessly, to their original place.
The river goes the rounds, washing the windows all the way. Tiles. Washing hearts
that are hurrying along.
The dense, fishscale-like light is flowing softly. Many times, these waters may suddenly go through the day’s vision, entering a secret peak or a strange current.
I can see an ancient story happening in an instant and disappear in another.
Water at Night
Part of the water, moon on its back, is walking through the wind. That you must have been gazing at for a long time.
The fishscales of this moonlight, across riverbanks and evenings, through the mocking laughter of the pinetrees on the way, have arrived at an unknown port.
The silk of the water is newly woven, the first snow fed into the tapestry. You’ve forgotten pain of all kinds.
Throughout the night, you hear nothing else but the sound of water.
Dry Grass and the Flowing Water
One always assumes you are better than water.
Some, holding their new-born babies in their arms, have come to bathe them. In the dry grass, a young cricket is dying.
Birds scan the rivers, they baptize the babies, they heal the cricket, they gather dark clouds and petals, planting them in the lower ground. They hope the yellow dry grass, like the running water, still retain the will, rich in hearted soul and soft smells.
Details, at deep levels, are still and continuing.
You were, after all, running water, originally. On the same night, people made the discovery.
Qing Shui, the pen name of Zhu Hongli, was born in 1971 in Shanghai (translatable as “upon the sea”), China’s most populous city located in the Yangtzse River Delta under the direct control of the central government. Although its vernacular language is a dialect of Taihu Wu, Mandarin and English have fast supplanted it for Qing Shui’s generation.
Apart from many anthologies, she has been widely published in China in such literary magazines as Shichao (Wave of Poetry), Shilin (Forest of Poetry), Xingxing (Stars), Zhongguo shiren (Chinese Poets), Shanghai shiren (Shanghai Poets), Shi xuankan (Selected Poetry), Shige yuekan (Poetry Monthly), and Sanwenshi shijie (The World of Prose Poetry). The following prose poems are from her collection of Chinese prose poems centred upon the natural world, Night Light at Soft Grass, other examples from which were translated by Ouyang Yu for the volume, Poems of Wu Suzhen, Yue Xuan & Qing Shui [Asia Pacific Series 13] (Sydney & Tokyo: Vagabond Press, 2017) for which this Issue’s other translator, Cui Yuwei, provided an introduction.