World Picture

World Picture
by Meng Lang, translated from Chinese by Denis Mair

Far away, a dust column in the storm takes solid form
People who lean against the wind to keep themselves erect
Are like one speechless statue after another
The storm enters its fiercest hour
I have seen so much immobility
The distance – how far is it from me after all?
I walk toward it, as if going to martyrdom, but to what end?
Let me disappear into the storm
Behind the giant dust column
Behind those people leaning in the storm
Further than far!

Hands that have touched the storm cannot be drawn back
Another individual commits himself
The eye of the storm, secret of distance
A crowd turned still in the storm
Writhing, exchanging blows, who can still see it?
Who is still unmoved in the distance?
All have been swept in, all are unable to leave
All are still, have disappeared
I want to raise a cry, who can still hear?
The cries I have raised…sift earthward like a dust column
Where has the storm gotten to now?

Far away, so much immobility remains
Resembling a picture I cannot move aside
Yet all this is beyond my ability to touch
I am weak, prey to the speechlessness of this world scene
Such impact keeps me from taking even a step
Too far away, too lacking in aim
The storm’s passing leaves me bereft of a goal
The crowd has begun walking, begun making conversation
Coming and going from houses just emerged as if from a backdrop
Within an imagined, unstoppable storm

Such is the ordained tragedy I find myself in
Martyrdom is right here, no need to go far
No one can see, no one can hear
A person’s sacrifice is worthwhile
Because of it the dust cloud rises in glory
The statuesque tableau of the crowd takes on meaning
Myself, a starting point and contributing cause of storms
Grill me with questions, stare me down, you in the crowd!
I have already shouted my answer
Far away, hidden in the distance of my spirit
boundless open sky, within silence, will not be stopped from rising!

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