February

The night is rushing to perfection
I drift inside language
the musical instruments of death
are filled with ice

who sings on the crevice
of days, water turns bitter
flames hemorrhage
pouncing like pumas to the stars
there must be form
for there to be dreams

in the chill of early morning
a wide-awake bird
gets closer to the truth
while my poems and I
sink as one

February in books:
certain movements, certain shadows

— Bei Dao
(Trans. by Clayton Eshleman and Lucas Klein)

Bei Dao is the pseudonym used by Chinese poet Zhao Zhenkai. Several of Dao’s poems were read aloud during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He was subsequently exiled and now lives in the United States.

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