Gulangyu Island by Wang Xiaolong – translated by Mimi Chang

I’ll cut all the cables secretly in the middle of the night
to let you escape Gulangyu
the island that beats waves like beating drums
to let you run far, far away
to let you wander around gracefully
no moon shall ever find you
every night you sleep-walk sleep-talk elsewhere
sprinkling phoenix petals all over the sea
and we will always stand on the shore
waking up again and again
live and live until we die helplessly
dogs run and rumble in the August sun
buses are crowded
winter is always too cold
we have too little money
but you are wandering around gracefully

from the window blinds half closed all day
a young girl’s piano playing brings back the last century
oh the bougainvillea under the sun-lit rocks
the moonlight crawling up the steps
at this very moment the climbing ivy plants are set free
beluga whales surface from the sea water
warships circling you—
if all the warships in this world
are for demonstration only
just to beautifully cross the waves
how real your dreams are
your dreams hanging on an ancient banyan tree
how we long for that
and we will always stand on the shore

Wang Xiaolong (1954) is an avant garde poet and documentary film director from Shanghai. He began writing poetry in 1968 and taught a poetry class in 1981 at Shanghai Youth Cultural Center. A pioneer of the Spoken Language Poetry in China as well as a forerunner of the Third Generation Poetry (Post-Misty) of the 1980s in China.

Mimi Chang is a Chinese poet living in the USA. She has published widely in literary journals in China. She translates poems and literary essays and organizes the annual Hu Shi Poetry Award in China.