Friday, June 3, 2011

Zou Jingzhi


From "Yellow Tiles and Red Walls

The gate of hell, so gloomy so cold so deep and so far away,
opening and closing at the bottom of the dry well
Girls dare not bend to look in
afraid of a hand pusing from behind

Concubine Zhen died thin.
Her husband was an emperor, her mother-in-law the emperor dowager
Widowed for many years,
the dowager feared the laughter between man and woman,
feared that Zhen's graceful steps and her perfume
hooked the emperor's eye.

She ordered Zhen to die
and the emperor to love another.

Crying she said she didn't want to die or pollute the well.
If she died the other person would also perish . . .
Before she finished she was pushed
into a long distant night

She's been floating ever since

in the news
a girl who rebels against an exchange marriage
jumps into a well

translated by Wang Ping and Murar Nemet-Nejar

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