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Modern Poetry in China: A Visual-Verbal Dynamic By Paul Manfredi

Chapter 1:  Li Jinfa
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Modern Poetry in China:

Long hair falls before my eyes,
Blocking out all the sick and shameful stares,
With the rushing of fresh blood,
    the deep sleep of brittle bones.
The dark night and ants come in lock step,
Over the corner of this low wall,
To scream into my unsullied ears
Like a ferocious wind ravaging the wilds,
Frightening countless wandering shepherds.

長髮披遍我兩眼之前,
  遂割斷了一切羞惡之疾視,
  與鮮血之急流,枯骨之沈睡 。
  黑夜與蟲子臉部徐來,
  越此短牆之角,
狂呼在我清白之耳後,
如荒野狂風怒號:
顫慄了無數游牧。

(ibid., 5–6)

Li’s scene is cataclysmic. The natural world, once a “forest of Symbols” for fellow symbolist poets such as Feng and Mu, is now patently hostile. Not unlike “A Thought,” a current of controlled rage runs through this poem, where “sick stares” combined with “dried bones” and “rushing blood” suggest an external (sinister) scrutiny combined with an anatomical disorder of dangerous proportions. Having established this rather compelling scene, the author is quick to part with it:

Against a blade of grass, I pace the empty vale
    with the spirit of god,
My sorrow can but be imprinted in the brains of a roaming bee;
Or on to mountain streams cascading at the precipice,
Then drifting down with the red leaves.

靠一根草兒,與上帝之靈往返在空谷裡。
我的哀戚惟游蜂之腦能深印著;
或與山泉長瀉在懸崖,