Spontaneous Thoughts by Yilin Wang

Poem name: Spontaneous Thoughts Poet name: Yilin Wang Poem:  in the rhyme of Yu Xuanji’s poem following a verse on the three sisters Guang, Wei, and Pou  At the vanity table, I meet two immortal talents with delight.         On the travellers’ road, weeds adrift, until it’s March once more. Facing the clear mirror, alone and bleak, my Black Bird hair.         Closing the window, I languish away as my jade-green gown loosens.  Ten lines of fine verse I admire, resting my hand on my chest.         A new scroll of poetry, flowing freely from deep within. Daoyun, her eminence widespread like fragrance, sadly a woman.         Mulan, a free-spirited warrior, didn’t remain a man.  Who can carry on singing the refined notes of ‘White Snow’?         I blush with shame as I stride eagerly towards ‘Bright Spring’. In the courtyard, lingering, the singsong of warblers.         Old nests remain and await returning swallows’ chirping.  To often toss aside needlework for a love of music.         To always strip off hair ornaments to pay for books. For a humble reputation in the afterlife, the Leopard hides behind fog.         In the undertaking that lies ahead, pests spew poisonous sand.  Socializing in frivolous ways exhausts all my sentiments.         I have long tasted pungent bitterness on the path of life. Freshly brewed rice wine, living to the fullest, tipsy under blossoms.         The Yellow Court Classic, an idle search for wisdom among tranquility.  When no one else shares my tune, what is the point of sighing?         To meet a soulmate who knows the same songs, I’d willingly die. Sorrowfully I gaze towards my hometown, across misty waters.         Sandalwood clappers should stop singing ‘Memories of Jiang’nan.’ End of poem.  Credits and bio: Copyright © Yilin Wang  Previously published in LA Review of Books’ “China Channel” (2021).   About the Author: Qiu Jin Çïèª (1875–1907) was a Chinese writer, poet, revolutionary, and founder of the feminist publication China Women’s News. Defying the gender expectations of her time, she practiced crossdressing, learned sword-fighting and horseback riding, acquired a traditional scholarly education, and eventually died as a martyr in a revolution against the imperial Qing dynasty government. In the brief thirty-two years of life before her death, Qiu Jin wrote over two-hundred poems, which have been compiled into various collections posthumously.  About the Translator: Yilin Wang (she/they) is a writer, poet, Chinese-English translator, and editor. Her writing and translations have appeared in Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, POETRY, Guernica, The Common, The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Toronto Star, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry translation chapbook, The Lantern and the Night Moths, which features five modern and contemporary Chinese poets in translation, won the Tafseer Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming with Collusion Books in October 2022. Yilin has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop.