ENLIGHTENED BY SNOW
Written by Sang Ke
Translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz
“In all my years in Manchuria,
I never saw pristine snow.”
City folk are always despondent.
In the countryside,out in open spaces,or
on forks of boughs in the forest,
snow is more pristine,more nourishing
than mineral water.
That snow isn't white,but sky blue.
Rock hard,like spilled blue ink annealed in a crucible.
Supple,like a fashion model swaying down a catwalk in the air.
But in the shade of a mountain,
more tranquil than a napping cat.
The wind's claws are mischievous,
leaving fine lines on its face,but no,
snow doesn't budge.
It quietly cradles grass sprouts,
or our childhood memories
and long-forgotten games.
Tire treads squish snow on highways.
How absurd to mistake that crunching sound for moaning.
It is in fact
more like a revolt against coercion,
And so is my muffled mumbling.
If this can be called an achievement,
it is thanks to the enlightement of the merciful snow.
21 November 1999
Sang Ke was born in Heilongjiang Province in 1967.He graduated from the Beijing Normal University Chinese literature department in 1989 and currently lives in Harbin.He has published a number of poetry collections,and his works have been translated into many languages.He has also published translations of Larkin's selected poems and Auden's Academic Graffiti.Sang's poetry has received the Liu Li-an Poetry Prize and The Peoples' Literature Poetry Prize.