Every foolish drunken poet, boorish vanity without ceasing, (never may I warrant it, I of great noble stock,) has always declaimed fruitless praise in song of the girls of the lands all day long, certain gift, most incompletely, by God the Father: praising the hair, gown of fine love, and every such living girl, and lower down praising merrily the brows above the eyes; praising also, lovely shape, the smoothness of the soft breasts, and the beauty's arms, bright drape, she deserved honour, and the girl's hands.
Dejected, reading the newspaper while riding the tram: he came across an apparent crime in the Police Blotter, a crime that had taken place the night before between ten and eleven. The murderer had not yet been found. The newspaper story, quite justly, abhorred the murder, but righteously showed its utter contempt for the victim’s degenerate way of life, for that individual’s depravity.
He read all about it, the contempt … and grieving in silence, remembered an evening between ten and midnight a year ago
[EDITOR’S NOTE. Starting to write as the Cultural Revolution was taking shape, Shi Zhi (born in 1949) appears today as an early forerunner to the changes in Chinese poetry that began to emerge during that time of repression and that have now come to represent the Chinese present. His life has been marked by periods of suppression and by recurrent and ongoing confinements for mental illness, but he is now widely recognized as a major influence on better-known groups such as the Misty Poets of the 1970s and 1980s, with whom he was later associated. Winter Sun, a selection of his poems translated into English by Jonathan Stalling, appeared this year as the first title in the Chinese Literature Today book series from the University of Oklahoma Press. (J.R.)]