A Poem by Li Yiliang
by Li Yiliang tr. Fan Jinghua
Yueyang Tower soaring high over Cloud-Dream Lake
Black-Dragon River running under the distant frosty sky
Barely had I started than I felt it hard to finish this letter.
What should I say to you?
In private, I had even wished for more people to read
--But this is obviously impossible.
A letter can only say part of what can be said, like
The attempt to turn a scrambled Rubik’s cube of magic
To get one face of solid color.
This is already an indication of the order in me, that is,
There is no order. I am in pursuit,
My vision being worn down, by day and by night.
The result? It appears more like a child playing
Stone skipping, being fascinated by the transient arches over the water,
And learning to accept
The sinking of heart with the piece of stone.
For many years, I’ve been contesting against saints and sages and trying
To reconcile with evil persons. I’ve taken on the eccentricities of a genius,
But nowadays there are only self-assumed geniuses,
And they are everywhere, so I am no longer one.
For many times, I have been haunted by a dream that I wake up
In the morning only find that a scorpion is waiting
For my foot in each of my shoes under the bed.
Where is the niche of my Buddha? Whose icon do I pray to?
I need to have joy, and I need to be capable of love. Who’d like
To always write poems that present a long blank face?
I wish so much to praise the present, this sunlight on the windowsill,
As it reminds me of the south, not long ago,
The tropical, the alcohol like seawater,
The long long journey.
Nov. 30, 2008