by Wang Xiaoni tr. Fan Jinghua
The deep night moon shines to the bones of everything.
I breathe in its bluish white air.
The trivial cuticle and hair of the human world
Become firebugs that keep falling down.
This city, a dead skeleton.
Deserves the night of such purity.
I lift the curtains slightly apart
And see the sky and earth exchanging silver.
Moonlight makes me forget I am a human being.
In the expansion of this blank color,
Moonlight comes to the floor,
But my feet have already become white in advance.
Wang Xiaoni in Boston (Oct. 11, 2004) 王小妮2004年10月11日于波斯顿
This is one of Wang Xiaoni’s best short poems. Wang Xiaoni is perhaps the most accomplished woman poet in contemporary China and received as a poet instead of a woman poet. By a received woman poet I mean that too many women poets are playing up their sexuality. Wang’s language, which can be seen in this poem, is clean, clear and simple, maximizing the quality of contemporary spoken Chinese both in rhythm and image. Two concurrent flows can usually be felt intermingling naturally or spontaneously in her poems that carry the reader along. These two currents, rooted in ancient Chinese poetry as solidness 实 (realness) and abstractness 虚 (emptiness), hypostatize into one body of language on different levels of perception, in the sensory dimension and the psychological.
Wang Xiaoni was born in 1955 in Changchun, Jilin Province in the northeastern area of China, and graduated from Department of Chinese in Jilin University in 1982. From 1985, she moved to Shenzhen to join her husband XU Jingya, a critic of contemporary Chinese poetry. She writes poetry, prose, and fiction, and has been awarded many prizes. They have a son and she is now a professor of Hainan University.