Three Poems

by  Yi Sha
translated by Xin Xu
An observation tower rises out of the swirling froth atop a sea wall
Photo: Momoko Morita/Pixabay


The typhoon has arrived.
Wind force 12.
It is merciful.

From this city,
it has taken only one person away,
the one with unkempt hair.
The one who wanders all day along the edge of the city

longing for something new to shake his soul.

Now it’s been realized.



My body carries mind, belief, spirit,
thoughts, desires, eccentricity, wicked ideas, and underarm smell.
They are parasites in the home of my body.
I have to treat every guest equally.


Sex Education

It was one of the few journeys we had,
in Qingdao nine years ago.
It belongs to the summer of love.
On the beach there were castles and writing in the sand.
The fresh scallops at the small restaurant
were cheap. I remember
that we stayed in a school,
which had been made into a hostel that summer,
a summer when we loved watching movies.
There was a night that we sat
in the movie theater till sunrise.
We liked the film
about fish.
We were astonished by a kind of fish
called “salmon.”
This beautiful kind of fish ends its life
with delightful sexual intercourse.
Nine years have passed.
And we cannot remember
its beauty,
though its miserable ending
is unforgettable.

Translations from the Chinese

Yi Sha, born in Chengdu in 1966, is considered one of China’s foremost avant-garde writers. He has published over twenty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; his influential online column, New Century Poetry Canon, recommends a poem a day to a wide readership throughout the Chinese-speaking world.

Xin Xu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at the University of Connecticut. She translates classical Chinese prose and contemporary Chinese poetry; her translations of three poems by Yi Sha recently appeared in World Literature Today.