Moon Festival

By Bei Dao b. 1949 Bei Dao
Lovers holding pits in their mouths
make vows and delight in each other
till the underwater infant
periscopes his parents
and is born

an uninvited guest knocks at my
door, determined to go deep
into the interior of things

the trees applaud

wait a minute, the full moon
and this plan are making me nervous
my hand fluttering
over the obscure implications of the letter
let me sit in the dark
a while longer, like
sitting on a friend's heart

the city a burning deck
on the frozen sea
can it be saved? it must be saved
the faucet drip-drop drip-drop
mourns the reservoir

“Moon Festival” by Bei Dao, translated by Eliot Weinberger and Iona Man-Cheong, from Unlock, copyright © 2000 by Zhao Zhenkai. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: Unlock (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2000)

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Poet Bei Dao b. 1949

POET’S REGION China

Subjects Living, Relationships, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagery

 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 Living, Relationships, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

POET’S REGION China

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagery

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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