On walking

Zhai Yongming
from Jing'an Village: The First Month

"As though it had long existed, as though pre-arranged
I walk here, the sound quite beyond my control
It installs me in a side-room facing south

Even the first time I come across a pitch-black day
Everywhere there are paths that look much the same
The brisk wind leaves me cold and lonely
The maize-fields are exhilarated at such moments
I have come here, I hear the roar of Pisces
And the ceaseless trembling of the sensitive night. ...."

- translated by Tony Prince and Tao Naikan


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