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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This poem is taken from PN Review 250, Volume 46 Number 2, November - December 2019.

Two Poems
translated by Wang Fang and Yvonne Reddick
Yu Xiuhua
Confession of Love

I try hard at life: I carry water, cook, and take all my pills on time.
I throw myself into it, like putting a piece of dried orange peel in my tea when the sun is warm and bright.
I drink my different teas in turn: chrysanthemum, jasmine, rose and lemon –
all these lovely things bring me to the path that leads to spring.
So again and again I press down the snow in my heart –
it’s too pure and close to spring.
I read your poems in a clean yard. All the world’s love-affairs
are a blur, like sparrows darting by,
and the years are pure as moonlight. No, I’m not being sentimental –
if I send you a book, it won’t be poetry.
I’ll send you a book about plants and crops,
telling you the difference between rice and grass,
telling you how the grasses that look like rice are afraid of spring.


My Dog Xiaowu

I limped out of the yard: she trotted at my heels.
We passed the vegetable patch and the furrowed fields to go north to my grandma’s.
When I stumbled and fell in a ditch, she wagged her tail –
I stretched out my hands, and she licked the blood to clean them.

He was drunk, and he said that there was a girl in Beijing
better-looking than me. They go dancing on their days off.
He likes girls who dance –
he loves watching them shake their bottoms.
He says they always moan and groan in bed – it really turns him on –
not like me: I’m always silent, I even cover my face.

I ate in silence.
I called ‘Xiaowu, Xiaowu’ and threw her some meat.
She wagged her tail, barking with joy.

All those times he pulled my hair and banged my head against the wall –
Xiaowu wagged her tail.
He was powerless to hurt a woman with no fear of pain.

When we got to grandma’s house,
we realized that she’d been dead for years.


Xiaowu (小巫) means ‘little witch’ in Chinese.

This poem is taken from PN Review 250, Volume 46 Number 2, November - December 2019.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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