The Boat With a Red Sail by Bei Dao

If the ruins of the walls are all about,
how shall I insist
the only road is the one we’re on?
Are you fooled into believing
the streetlights that fill the eyes
come out nightly like stars?

I won’t deceive you anymore,
won’t let your heart, like a trembling maple leaf,
be written all over with lies about Spring.
I can’t comfort you anymore
because, after heaven and earth,
only time witnesses to our existence.

On the beach, where sands are pulverized darkness,
when the spray runs off our eye-lashes,
we see the sea behind it is boundless.
Still, however I want to say,
wait, girl,
wait for the boat with a red sail, that brings the wind.

– Bei Dao (translated by Gordon T. Osing and De-An Wu Swihart)

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