Days of Tempest

by Sergio Badilla Castillo

Wang Wei is confused.
What disturbance makes him think of Li Yuan?
Does the storm like a rat
gnaw Tang Dynasty from the rear?
Tough as silver tussock under hoarfrost
the pivot doesn’t wobble,
when Chanxi is whipped by disaster
no excuses can be made.
Thus he is sad as the leaves of the tamarind
fall as the empire will fall,

and yet Wang Wei is alive
his mind bursting with hypotheses
throughout these tempestuous days.

Translated Roger Hickin & Sergio Badilla Castillo