1/6/11

Setting Out

Setting Out
Bei Dao 

To TT, on his 24th birthday

In the watch store called The Stars
Twelve celestial hours chime
Along the clouds’ unending path
Twenty four mountains spin around

Migrating birds set out from you
The earth is covered with written signs
Waves turn the pages, wind reads aloud
Roots’ meaning is drawn out by trees

With song a music box protects
The juniormost of all the gods
Querulous teapot teaches how
To know the taste of wind and storm

Reality is another dream
The air is full of banknote kites
Fire’s ice and thunder’s shock
The chessboard kingdom sets its traps

The gravely ill disseminate
All the rumors of the age
But only those who guard the night
Will breach the lines of dawn’s defense

Shadows clear up, rainbows push
The swinging doors when seasons change
In the watch store called The Stars
Twelve celestial hours chime



Original here. Translation mine.

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