One Poem by Du Ya, Translated from the Chinese

Spring in My Village

Stranger, this is spring in my village:
from the very start, the east wind has opened every enclosure,
occupying each street corner and patio,
moving through the village locust trees to the fields beyond.

In every courtyard, a poplar and an old person.
Through winter storms, the old folks huddled in doorways, waiting for spring.
Now they lean against the low wall, comforted by sunshine, recalling the past.
They never seem to know where I’ve gone.

On the way out of the village, poplar catkins cover the ground
(they are our first flowers of spring)
and soon the blooms of paulownia, pear, and willow will carpet the roads.
If you come in April, you will see drifts of snow-white locust blossoms

and perhaps white funeral flags will march down the road.
From the gate, you can see the newly dug graves in the field.
Later, when red, white, and yellow flowers bloom in this same field,
you’ll almost believe they have never withered or died.

Bit by bit, the air inside the courtyards warm, filled with fragrance.
This much the farmers and I have always known,
because when it’s spring in my village, stranger,
the east wind will have blown open every enclosure.

About the Author

Du Ya was born in 1968 in Henan Province. Before becoming an editor and writer, she worked as a nurse for ten years. She is the author of The Wind Uses Its Bright Wings (1998), Selected Poems (2008), and Sunset and Dawn Light (2016), winner of the prestigious Lu Xun Prize.

About the Translator

Anni Liu is the author of Border Vista (Persea, 2022). Her poems are published in PloughsharesEcotone, the Georgia ReviewPleiades, and elsewhere, and you can find her translations of Du Ya in Two LinesWaxwing, and the Asymptote blog. She holds an MFA from Indiana University and works at Graywolf Press.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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