China

Bei Dao’s New Year

a child carrying flowers walks toward the new year
a conductor tattooing darkness
listens to the shortest pause

hurry a lion into the cage of music
hurry stone to masquerade as a recluse
moving in parallel nights

who’s the visitor? when the days all
tip from nests and fly down roads
the book of failure grows boundless and deep

each and every moment’s a shortcut
I follow it through the meaning of the East
returning home, closing death’s door

Bei Dao, “New Year” (translated by David Hinton with Yanbing Chen), 1995

See more Readings from around the world

RELATED CONTENT