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Syndic Literary Journal

Autumn Trees

Written by Xiao Xiao

Translated from the Chinese by Jami Proctor Xu

Narrated by Jami Proctor Xu



Rebelling against death, I plant trees in autumn

The bodies beneath the mud raise their heads

Please accept a living being using sorrow and the coming life to confess 

This planet, suffering and conscience

only separated by one step: life and death

The choked sobs you stuff down your throats  protest

this paranoid age when dreams conquer the universe

The roots of the trees gently draw close

Each touch brings inquiries of tears

Each kiss a serene glimmer

Let autumn trees hold the human world, heaven and hell

Extract their green blood to bind humankind’s wounds

Life thrusts itself towards death but it doesn’t end


Xiao Xiao is a Chinese poet and painter.  She has published six poetry collections in China and edited a series of modern and contemporary Chinese poetry anthologies.  Her work has been translated into a number of languages including, among others, German, English, Japanese, French, Korean, and Farsi. She is a recipient of many literary awards in China, such as the Wen Yiduo Poetry Prize, Special Contribution Award of a Hundred Years of New Chinese Poetry, the Poetry Prize of Beijing Literature.  She is the first Asian to receive the Tudor Arghezi International Poetry Prize of Romania, and Romania named her an honorary citizen. 
Jami Proctor Xu is a bilingual poet and translator. She is the recipient of a Zhujiang Poetry Award and a First Readers Poetry Award. Her translations of Song Lin’s collection, Sunday Sparrows (Zephyr, 2020), received the Northern California Book Award for Poetry in Translation.




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