by Bian Zhilin, translated into English by Lucas Klein
You stand on the bridge overlooking the landscape,
and upstairs someone looking at the landscape looks at you.
The moon adorns your window,
and you adorn somebody’s dream.
STARGAZING ON HA’ERGAI
by Xi Chuan, translated into English by Lucas Klein
There is a mystery you cannot master
and for which you can only fulfil the role of observer
allowing that mysterious force
to emit its signals from afar
to send out light, piercing your heart
like tonight, on Ha’ergai
in this desolate spot so far from any
city, beside a train station the size of a fava bean
on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau
and as I look up to gaze at the stars
the cosmos is so silent, even wings are rare
grass grows wildly toward the constellations
the horses have forgotten how to fly
the wind blows through an empty night and blows through me
the wind blows through the future and it blows through the past
I become somebody, in some
hovel of a room, lighting a lamp
and am trampled on the icy roof of this hovel
into an altar by the constellations’ billion feet
I am like a child taking communion
trying to be brave, holding my breath
How to cite: Klein, Lucas. “Two New Translations by Lucas Klein: Bian Zhilin and Xi Chuan.” Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, 16 Feb. 2021, chajournal.blog/2021/02/16/new-translations/.
Lucas Klein is a father, writer, translator, and the Translation Editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, as well as Associate Professor of Chinese at the Arizona State University. His translation Notes on the Mosquito: Selected Poems of Xi Chuan (New Directions) won the 2013 Lucien Stryk Prize, and his scholarship and criticism has appeared in Comparative Literature Studies, LARB, Jacket, CLEAR, PMLA, among other venues. Other publications include October Dedications, his translations of the poetry of Mang Ke (Zephyr Press and Chinese University Press, 2018), and contributions to Li Shangyin (New York Review Books, 2018), and the monograph The Organization of Distance: Poetry, Translation, Chineseness (Brill, 2018). His translations of the poetry of Duo Duo, forthcoming from Yale University Press, recently won a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant. He is one of the shortlisted translators for 2019’s Lucien Stryk Prize. (Photograph of Lucas by Zhai Yongming.)
你隻能充當旁觀者的角色 should be 你只能充當旁觀者的角色
Thank you so much for the correction, Scott Robinson!