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Syndic Literary Journal

October 2006 Tao Yuanming

Written by Li Li

Translated by Jami Proctor Xu

Narrated by Jami Proctor Xu


I’m sweeping the dewdrop dotted leaves on the cyan stone patio.
Silence arrives with the songs of birds.
I see my son kicking a ball, my daughter swinging.
They’re so far from news and fear.

The bamboo stalks stand still, protecting the garden path,
protecting the blue sky that speaks my mother tongue with me in the morning.
Apples jump into the grass, one after the other, “We
refuse to have a fixed price, we want to live our own lives!”

Li Li is a poet and translator.  He was born in 1961 in Shanghai.  He majored in Swedish at the Beijing Foreign Languages University, and he moved to Sweden in 1988.  From 1988 to 1992, he studied contemporary Swedish Literature at Stockholm University.  He has published six poetry collections in Swedish, two collections in Chinese, and received a number of poetry awards.  He has also published translations of both Northern European and Chinese poets, including the complete works of 2011 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature Tomas Tranströmer.  Five of his short films were shown on Swedish television.
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.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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