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Thus Said A Mourner

Zhang Er Gun
Translated from Chinese by Ou Shilin

I once asked him
if a cold body was all that needed
for hot tears welling up in his eyes.
No, he smiled
and said it did not have to be that real.
A good mourner possesses pains
trained with regularity.
Even when facing an empty coffin,
he catches a dead from out of nowhere;
he is also capable of restoring the made-up joys
and sorrows, with rhythmic cries,
as if someone is actually dead,
or has truly lived.
For heaps of times, he added,
a good professional mourner puts himself in coffins;
he kneels down to wear away life and death;
I cried so many dead; every time was a touching practice;
I imagined each of the dead
to be a substitute of you or me
being sent away.

About the author:

Zhang Er Gun is a young but one of the most influential poets in the current poetic world of China. He was born in 1982 in Shanxi Province.

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