Purchase Issue 6

Purchase Issue 6


Song Lin trans. by Dong Li

A Walk down montmartre

Fog feels like a fever. Under neon lights
a stumbling drunkard holds an electric post
as if holding an angel, pouring out his heart.
I walk down the grey hill of Montmartre.

The windmill of Moulin Rouge slants on Paris sky,
beer glasses brim with foam. By night’s edge,
a cat dreams of a Daliesque surrealistic painting:
the moon sniffs at creamed strawberries on the serving plate.

The carnivalistic fatal swing of the flesh.
Whirlwinds of saxophone and Tarantella sisters,
crystal shoes on a spell endlessly spin.
There in the telephone booth, a lady cries out.

After a sad expatriate party,
I want to sleep! Let wine, this green gloomy spirit,
escort me till the end of a night adrift, a drenched night.
I walk down the grey hill of Montmartre.

Tell me, old man gleaning in the trash,
on which street, around which glittering corner,
do I see you again, a figure in the verse of Baudelaire,
whose empty glance would destroy the world?


Read Song Lin’s “Autumn Whispers” and “A Walk Down Montmartre,” translated by Dong Li, in the print edition of The Arkansas International 6.



Song Lin is one of the most distinguished and unusual poets from China.Among his honors are Rotterdam, Romanian, Hong Kong Poetry Night International Poetry Fellowships as well as the Shanghai Literature Prize. He has held residencies at OMI Ledig House translation lab and Vermont Studio Center.

Dong Li was born and raised in P.R. China. He is an English-language poet and translates from Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ledig House Translation Lab, Henry Luce Foundation/Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and elsewhere.