Voices Of West River
2012 03 19
Translation from Chinese
West River by Byron Wang
Sad breeze blows achievements and prosperity
of ten dynasties, suspended in smoke,
over mountain-ringed valley, where old city,
constructed from memories preserved in poems,
lingers in fragile words of dry wood walls.
Voices from countless generations chant,
echoing from empty silent drum tower,
remembering lives never written in books
in Dragon Alley and Red Phoenix Street,
to curl in sharp corners of dusty homes.
Sunset gleams on black sackcloth, long enough
to reveal lifetimes long hidden in shadow.
Morning moon gleams on wall where women wash,
who flock with birds to gold shore of West River.
We drive new white car past fields where cows graze
at foot of Ox Head Mountain, bid farewell
to rumbling traffic that crowds streets at dawn,
and escape winding dragon of glass cars,
leaving our past behind, like baby turtle
leaves cracked egg shell, crumbling walls of old town.
Arriving at Phoenix nest of our new home,
white walls and blue glass shining in sunlight,
we eat melons and cake in backyard garden,
welcome gifts from new neighbors in Jiangning,
yet voices from West River follow us,
and linger in scent of flowers in mist.