Winter Garden Poem by Yang Lian

Winter Garden

Trees frozen red in snow as if wearing tattered wind jackets Snow crunches underfoot As night rushes by with newly soled shoes Goats fear the loneliness and for their own ears Transform their bleating into wailing On the road a cow has just given birth Is covered in whip marks and lies panting in mud and blood Streetlights are on early and lovers dark like rocks Stand there with hazy faces against a metallic spiritual bed The field mouse is a weary nurse and furtively Sneaks through a wound in the garden to dream Flowers pale red flesh preserved underground Like when a child dies there is always a young ghost Stars not fully formed lock us behind an iron fence 2 Those who distrust language the most are poets In white snow roses wilt at birth And flames are far away from a pair of chilly hands Winter is busy like a hardworking editor I am snipped by the sunlight And bend to smell the worsening stench of my corpse In the north wind of one person the garden died long ago Existing for ghosts and finally returning to ghosts Blue music of tree and tree arises from the sheer loneliness So the same big snowfall twice falls from my shoulders Covering the garden I am forgotten Trudging up to the road I become a mistake And like a hoarse throat in the light of the deserted street Chant withered words bearing witness to many years

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