Three Poems by Shen Haobo
Translated from the Chinese by Liang Yujing
A Taoist Priest on Mount Kongtong
With great effort,
I climbed to the mountaintop.
There was a Taoist temple,
named Palace of the Jade Emperor.
At its front door
sat an old Taoist priest
striking the chime stone
for the pilgrims.
With a mallet in his left hand
for hitting the stone,
he held an apple in his right hand.
He struck the stone,
then gave his apple a bite,
then bit again.
When hitting the stone,
he looked listless.
When he bit the apple,
his eyes shone.
stripped to his waist,
is striving to shape a block of wood
with his hand plane.
surge up like sprays,
curly and soft,
giving off the scent of wood.
Swimming among wood,
he stretches out his arms
and draws them back.
Snow Under the Wall
The snow on the road has melted,
turned into water, gone underground,
enlarged the fissures of the earth’s surface,
while the snow under the wall is no longer snow
but snow’s cancer.
Leaning against the wall, it will
become increasingly dimmer and disappear.
Walking along the wall,
every few steps, you’ll find this
It looks even rather fresh,
yet when did it take shape anyway?
Oh it’s unbelievable, in the night,
so many people rushed to the wall,
unfastened their pants, or
stuck their fingers deep down their throats.
They excreted and vomited, deepening the dirtiness of snow.
Shen Haobo, born in 1976, is considered one of the most controversial voices among the new generation of Chinese poets for being both wickedly erotic and politically satirical in his poetry. As the leading poet of the Lower Body Group, he is the author of four poetry collections.
Liang Yujing grew up in China and is currently a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is the Chinese translator of Best New Zealand Poems 2014 (Wai-te-ata Press) and the English translator of Zero Distance: New Poetry from China (Tinfish Press)
Image courtesy of Peter Heeling