Bright Landscape

by Xue Di

Bright Landscape
     translated by Waverly and Keith Waldrop

In the extension of family he’s called Xue
mature child remembered
Watches clouds.  Regards waters
Tilts his body to the wind
Reworks old work in a warm shelter
Character changed by continual rewriting
His love of a local girl is like the
bend in a river.  His face thins
when animated.  Agape, his
eyes resemble two deer in a race
uphill.  Who listens along the grasslands
makes less sound than a spell of crickets
Dimmer than distant peaks

Calling Xue.  When he turns
his poetry now comprehends the dark
Scattered over the page are people in clusters
scribbled and rescribbled portions of the poem
black patches of the sort that make historians
sigh.  The state disappears under
the pen of self-pitying cartographers
A drove of stallions courses lightly.  The valley to the
left, pace by pace, disappears
from the lone sightseer’s memory

Those who only now see him call him Xue
An abandoned stable the shape of melancholy
The smallest mare in classical beauty among
haystacks a hermit has piled
A wildcat prowls at the edge of the forest
The traveler on foot feels lonely.  Trudging
uphill, he realizes maturity
Ahead, the road forks