The Boundary

By Bei Dao b. 1949 Bei Dao

Translated By Bonnie S. McDougall

I want to go to the other bank

The river water alters the sky's colour
and alters me
I am in the current
my shadow stands by the river bank
like a tree struck by lightning

I want to go to the other bank

In the trees on the other bank
a solitary startled wood pigeon
flies towards me

"The Boundary" by Bei Dao, translated by Bonnie S. McDougall from THE AUGUST SLEEPWALKER, copyright © 1988 by Bei Dao. Translation copyright © 1988, 1990 by Bonnie S. McDougall. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: THE AUGUST SLEEPWALKER (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1990)

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Poet Bei Dao b. 1949

POET’S REGION China

Subjects Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Metaphor

 Bei  Dao

Biography

Bei Dao is the nom de plume of Zhao Zhenkai, widely considered one of China’s most important contemporary authors. His poems have been translated into more than 30 languages. In English he is represented by numerous collections of poetry, fiction, and essays, including The August Sleepwalker, Old Snow, Unlock, Landscape over Zero, Midnight’s Gate, and Waves, which have been internationally acclaimed for their subtlety, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Activities, Travels & Journeys

POET’S REGION China

Poetic Terms Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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