English version by Wang Ping and Alex Lemon


I never thought
The world would creep in
After I washed the window
The grime is washed away
And the leaves are spying

I never thought
A cloth and two hours
Of scrubbing were such a crime

Everything can betray
This ancient craft
Easily passed onto a bit of cloth
I’m trapped

The biggest freedom
Is the freedom to look
At the complex and beautiful spring
Cubism walks off the cloth
Everyone has the magic to destroy
My days are seen layer by layer

Hidden deep in the house
But revealed from inside out
I’m an object, completely naked
Between the boards of a mahogany chair
My thoughts whirl
Dust falls on the earth
I’d rather return
To the mahogany seed

Only humans need secrecy
I want to pretend to be
Anything but human

Wang Xiaoni was born in Changchun, Jilin in 1955, and graduated from Jilin University. She moved to Shenzhen is 1985, where she made a living as a writer. She now teaches at Hainan University. Her first book, A Selection of My Poetry, was published in 1986. She has written several books of poetry, short stories, novels, and essays. She has received numerous awards, including the second annual Chinese Literature Media Award in 2004. More about the poet: