Poem: Metaphor of the Floating Life

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Tune Lin’s poem, translated by Dong Li, primarily makes use of attention-grabbing photos to articulate the sentiments of a “divided self” and a way of being all over the place and nowhere directly. The poet left China within the early Nineteen Nineties, after being imprisoned for practically a 12 months for main scholar demonstrations in the course of the Tiananmen Sq. protests. He then spent a decade in exile in Paris, Singapore and Argentina earlier than returning to China. Within the penultimate stanza of this poem, the crucial seems for the primary time, as if the speaker is reminding himself to remain true to himself, regardless of exterior pressures to be like everybody else or the “twelve similar bridges,” possible a metaphor for silence. The “site visitors” returns within the last stanza, with a slight ray of hope amid loneliness and displacement. Chosen by Victoria Chang

By Tune Lin, translated by Dong Li

On the twelve similar bridges
not a single one with out limitless streams of site visitors.

The night bell tolled, birds retrieved their shadows,
steeples light right into a grey sky.

Eyes in a daze, final leaves within the wind
saved trembling, not realizing the place to fall.

A spurt of emotions from the divided self
as should you stood on each one of many twelve bridges.

Listening to reward songs on the wind
you had been in an ocean of raging fireplace.

Paratroopers of the heavy snow nonetheless gathering then,
the moths of the soul chopped open the church’s candlelight.

Rising up intensely, they turned air and darkness.
The wind cried out on the bridge, whose soul was that?

Change into your self, not the soul of one other individual,
chilly and lonely like stars.

Within the bustle of site visitors and celebration of the flesh,
turn out to be a river, washing away silent sorrows.


Victoria Chang is a poet whose new ebook of poems is “The Timber Witness Every part” (Copper Canyon Press, 2022). Her fifth ebook of poems, “Obit” (2020), was named a New York Instances Notable E-book and a Time Should-Learn. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches in Antioch College’s M.F.A. program. Tune Lin is the creator of quite a few poetry collections, together with “Tune of Exploring the Waterways” (Columbia College Press, 2016), “Sunday Sparrows” (Zephyr Press, 2019) and “The Gleaner Tune” (Deep Vellum, 2021). He has acquired the Rotterdam Worldwide Poetry Award, the Shanghai Literature Award and the Dong Dang Zi Poetry Award.

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