lantern

Fei Ming 废名 (1901–1967) was an influential modern Chinese poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist, and a member of the Yu Si Se, a literary group founded by Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren. Fei Ming was the author of numerous poetry collections, novels, and short story collections, including MirrorThe Stories of the Bamboo GroveBridge, and The Peach Orchard. His work was influenced by romantic, impressionist, and minimalist traditions as well as different schools of Chinese philosophy.


 

lantern

reading late at night
i set aside a copy of laozi’s dao de jing,
as if throwing aside life’s changing fortunes and lingering regrets
to behold this solitary room.
so aloof and unlike mahākāśyapa’s enlightened smile
as buddha held up a lotus,
there’s the fish that gives meaning to water,
the proud cat that refuses to catch fish;
then i remember a tiny rat striding across a rug last new year’s eve,
the night peddlers’ hawking has also become the universe’s language,
then i recall a line of poetry by a youth
the fish is a lotus for the water.
the lantern light seems to have written a poem,
they feel lonesome since i won’t read them.
i say with a grin, i revere your brightness.
my lantern then replies, listen
the night watch outside is striking a gong to mark time.


 

深夜读书
释手一本老子道德经之后,
若抛却吉凶悔吝
相晤一室。
太疏远莫若拈花一笑了,
有鱼之与水,
猫不捕鱼,
又记起去年夕夜里地席上看见一只小耗子走路,
夜贩的叫卖声又做了宇宙的言语,
又想起一个年青人的诗句
鱼乃水之花。
灯光好像写了一首诗,
他寂寞我不读他。
我笑曰,我敬重你的光明。
我的灯又叫我听街上敲梆人。


Yilin Wang (she/they) is a writer, editor, and Chinese-English translator. Her writing has appeared in ClarkesworldFantasy MagazineThe Malahat ReviewGrainCV2The Toronto StarWords Without Borders, and elsewhere. She has been a two-time finalist for the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction, a finalist for the David TK Wong Fellowship, longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize, and the recipient of a 2021 ALTA Virtual Travel Fellowship. Her translations have appeared or are forthcoming in AsymptoteLA Review of Books’ China Channel, SamovarPathlight, and the anthology The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories (Tor.com). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop (2021). 

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