Chen Dachao: Dreams Shattered Late At Night

25 April 2002

Translated by Ouyang Yu.

Dreams just made behind closed eyes
were suddenly shattered by a glass breaking
It would be better if it had been a glass
but I was worried that it might be the goldfish from
the fish tank
that were thrashing on the floor

I stopped my ears for a long time
against the abusive man and the weeping woman
whose voice was so small
that it sounded as if it came from another distant world

I wasn't concerned at all
that they might break their own home
for houses now are
built far sturdier than the goldfish tank

No. How many homes there must be
in today's cities that look sturdy on the
outside
but are broken within

Chen Dachao (born 1958) is a Chinese poet and short story writer based in Hubei, China, whose work has won prizes in China, Taiwan and Australia.

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About Ouyang Yu


Ouyang Yu is a Chinese-born poet, novelist, editor and translator based in Melbourne. He has published over 90 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, literary translation and literary criticism in both English and Chinese. He edits Australia’s only Chinese literary journal, Otherland. His poetry and translations have been included in major Australian collections such as The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature and The turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry.

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