Rivulet of Occassionality by Yan An

Translated from the Chinese by Chen Du & Xisheng Chen

Text of poem by Yan An: I have been furtively loving a place Neither as hard as a gravel or a rock Nor as restless, skeptical and indecisive as a sand dune A meadow with a few dumpy-stumpy trees Fine-grained well-knit but not befuddling As if arising by chance the thin rivulet Drying up under the scorching sun but brimming with rainfalls Is the river where herded horses disappear Where a shepherd and his sheep full with river water stray Where a lone trekker loses his sense of direction After having a little sip of the water when crossing the river Is the river small and discreet seemingly humble But being prepared every moment For growing larger or vanishing straight

Yan An is the author of fourteen poetry books including his most famous poetry book, Rock Arrangement, which has won him The Sixth Lu Xun Literary Prize, one of China’s top four literary prizes. He is also the Vice President of Shaanxi Writers Association, the head and Executive Editor in Chief of the literary journal Yan River. His poetry book A Naturalist’s Manor, translated by Chen Du and Xisheng Chen, was published by Chax Press. The poem published here is from Yan An’s most famous book Rock Arrangement, which was published by Shaanxi Publishing & Media Group (Taibai Literary Press) in 2013. This piece appears in SAND 24.

Chen Du‘s translations have appeared in more than twenty journals in the United States and her poems have appeared in American Writers Review and elsewhere. A set of five poems written by Yan An and co-translated by her and Xisheng Chen won the 2021 Zach Doss Friends in Letters Memorial Fellowship. Yan An’s poetry book, A Naturalist’s Manor, translated by her and Xisheng Chen was published by Chax Press.

Xisheng Chen, a Chinese American, is an ESL grammarian, lexicologist, linguist, translator, and educator. As a translator for over three decades, he has published many translations in various fields in newspapers and magazines in China and abroad.