A River of Crimson: A Brief Stay in the Glorious Capital by Qiu Jin Translated from Chinese by Yilin Wang

Poem title: A River of Crimson: A Brief Stay in the Glorious Capital Poet name: by Qiu Jin  Translated from Chinese by Yilin Wang Poem: A brief stay in the glorious Capital;         soon, it’s Mid-Autumn Festival again. Sheltering by the fence, chrysanthemums bloom everywhere,         the autumn air cool and clear, as if freshly cleansed. War songs from all four directions falter         as I finally break through the siege of encircling foes; the aftertaste of these past eight years         makes me long wistfully for Zhejiang. Bitterly forced to behave as a wife with painted brows,         I’m full of disdain!  Not a man in the flesh,         unable to walk among them; but my heart is stronger,         more fierce than a man’s! I think of my inner spirit,         stirring often with passion on others’ behalf. How can narrow, uncultivated minds         comprehend my nature? A hero at the path’s end         must suffer trials and tribulations. In the vast, worldly dust, where can I find my soulmate?         My robe is stained with tears! End of poem.  Credits and Bio: Copyright © Yilin Wang Previously published in The Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel website on February 12, 2021. About the Author: Qiu Jin (1875–1907) was a Chinese writer, revolutionary, and feminist. Defying the gender expectations of her time, she grew up learning martial arts, sword-fighting, and horseback riding, and also acquired a traditional scholarly education. Later, she connected with other activists of China’s feminist movement, studied abroad in Japan, and returned home to join a revolution against the oppressive imperial Qing dynasty government and for women’s rights. When the uprising against the Qing dynasty that Qiu Jin took part in failed, she died a martyr and became the best-known figure of China’s early feminist movement. About the Translator: Yilin Wang (she/they) is a writer, poet, and Chinese-English translator living on unceded Coast Salish lands (Richmond, BC).  Her writing has appeared in Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, The Malahat Review, Grain, CV2, The Toronto Star, The Tyee, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. Her translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Magazine, Guernica, Asymptote, LA Review of Books’ China Channel, Samovar, Pathlight, and the anthology The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories (Tor.com). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop 2021. www.yilinwang.com