The Bells of Shizhongshan by Delimulati Teleti – translated by Kwame Dawes

Deep in the mountains, the falling stones ring
like bronze bells, their clamor hiding
the reverberations from the heavy hammering
of the Cambrian era that echo through the 60 million
year old fracture; the ringing sound of cracking rocks.
The mountain’s core is harder than its outer shell;
it is as hard as the adze edge of chiseling waterflow.
Time moves toward the future and towards the past
and we live on a sphere suspended in the curvature
between time and space. Light penetrates stone,
and strikes the bell that tolls across space and time.

Delimulati Teleti, Uyghur poet, was born in 1963 in Kebokyuzi Township, Yining City, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. He worked on the railroad and became a school teacher. He started writing poetry in 1982 and started a career as a literary translator from Uyghur into Chinese in 1997 and has published 32 books so far winning many awards including the National “Galloping Horse Award” for Translation, Tianshan Mountain Literature and Art Award, “Khan Tengri” Literature Award, and “Khan Tengri” Literary Translation Award. He writes poetry in Chinese and has published two collections of poems titled All the Way Southward, and The Soul of the Desert.

Kwame Dawes is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, Nebraska, was published in 2020. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and George C. Holmes Professor of English at the University of Nebraska.  He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His awards include an Emmy, the Forward Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry. In 2021, Kwame Dawes was named editor of American Life in Poetry.