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This poem is taken from PN Review 166, Volume 32 Number 2, November - December 2005.

Two Poems Robert Gray

Among the Mountains of Guang-xi Province, in Southern China

I had been wading for a long while in the sands of the world
and was buffeted by its fiery winds,
then I found myself carried on a bamboo raft (I am speaking literally now),
poled by a boatman down the Li River.

A guest in Beijing at the Central Academy of Arts,
brought to the countryside,
I'd wandered out alone. A sheen on the night and across the ranks of water,
and close mountains that joined smoky earth and sky.

When I saw the landscape around Guilin city
and realised it was the same as the painter Shi Tao had known it
I felt suddenly exalted,
as though I were riding in the saddle of a cloud.

The mountains' outlines were crowded one behind another
and seemed a wild loosening of the brush,
a switchback scrubbing, rounded or angular,
...


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