Dry Bones by Huang Xiang

 poem

 

After millions of years,

Millions of years beneath layers of earth

Maybe someone will

Dig up my

Skeleton

 

At that time

He might imagine

A remote geological age

A history far off and indistinct

 

Are these the decayed bones of his own first ancestor?

Or the fossil of an ancient skeleton?

 

At that time,

He might imagine that

This very pile of dry bones

Once made their sound in the world

Loved

Hated

Mourned

Cried Out

Agitated

 

He might imagine

That this pile of dry bones

Once had a face contorted with bitterness

Once had eyes that cursed in silence

Once endured silently with bloodless lips tight-closed

Once wrote poems as etrnal as the moon and stars

 

These are the bones of a poet

These are the bones of one who while hoping, lost hope and despaired

These are the bones of one who fought furiously

These are the bones who one who walked this world, struggled and was

tempered

These are the dry bones of a man whose skeleton was scattered

and put together again

These are jawbones with teeth that gnashed out of hatred

These are dry bones that clanked while resisting

These are dry bones that have seen heavenly lightning strike,

have listened, head-cocked, to the growing clamor of the

earth's

creatures

 

These are the dry bones of a Man

 

After millions of years,

Millions of years in the layered earth

When a future anthropologist

Geologist

Or archeologist

Digs up my bones

Will he please under the same burning sun

Raise up these watery airy remains and

Seek out the Man.

1968

 

 

 

translation by Andrew Emerson

 

Steve CannonTribes