Coincidence

by Cai Qijiao
Translated by Edward Morin, Dennis Ding, and Fang Dai
 
Lilacs facing the wind
and pine boughs bathed in snow
either meet by coincidence
or miss seeing each other all their lives

A person suddenly realizes
what life is in the time between thunder and lightning
just before they finally come together
Waiting is the name of love

 

Cai Qijiao was a rare poet who extricated himself from the meshes of Socialist Realism under Mao Zedong, survived ostracism before and during the Cultural Revolution, and persisted in writing individually inspired poetry. During four decades, he produced a large, masterful corpus whose literary merit ranks him as a major poet and among the most important living in China until his death in 2007.

 Edward Morin’s co-translations of Cai Qijiao’s poems have been published in Hawai’i Pacific Review twice and also in Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly, TWO LINES: a Journal of Translation, Poetry Miscellany, Connotation: An Online Artifact, Transference, and in the anthology he edited and co-translated, The Red Azalea: Chinese Poetry Since the Cultural Revolution (U. of Hawaii Press, 1990).

Dai Fang was born in Shanghai and graduated from high school during the Cultural Revolution. He has a Ph.D. in comparative literature from The University of Michigan and is an Associate Professor of Chinese at Hunter College in New York City. 

Dennis Ding was born in southwest China and graduated in foreign language and literature from Guiyang Normal College and Guizhou University. He has studied as a visiting scholar at Oakland University in Michigan and at Oxford University. His translations from English to Chinese include over one hundred works by British and American authors.

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