Yan Yongmin

We haven’t had very much contact,
but then this friend who researches old Chinese literature
suddenly calls me.
„This is the year of a pandemic,
you are a poet,
you have to write about this.“
I hasten to say, I am writing,
but after the call I’m a little uneasy.
If I hadn’t been writing,
how could I face my friend?
You start on this road of writing poetry,
there will be people watching.
No matter if you know it or not,
it’s like they’re shining a light on your face,
looking for the four letters for “poet”,
so can I take that, to be on the spot?

Translated by MW, March 2020



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