Poet, essayist and translator. He teaches American Literature and Creative Writing at the University of New Hampshire. He has published twenty poetry collections, five books of essays, a memoir, and numerous of books of translations. He has received many literary awards for his poems and translations, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize and the MacArthur Fellowship. Voice at 3 A.M., his selected later and new poems, was published by Harcourt in 2003 and a new book of poems My Noiseless Entourage came in the spring of 2005.
Poet and translator. Under Chinese pen name Laoha, he translates and writes poems both in English and Chinese. He was born in China in 1960 and now lives in Northern Nevada, USA.
Little Night Music
Of neighbors' voices and dishes
Being cleared away
On long summer evenings
With the windows open
As we sat on the back stairs,
Smoking and sipping beer.
The memory of that moment,
So sweet at first,
The two of us chatting away,
Till the stars made us quiet.
We drew close
And held fast to each other
As if in sudden danger.
That one time, I didn't recognize
Your voice, or dare turn
To look at your face
As you spoke of us being born
With so little apparent cause.
I could think of nothing to say.
The music over, the night cold.
As if you had a message for me ...
Tell me about the grains of dust
On my night table?
Are any one of them worth your trouble?
Your burglaries leave no thumbprint
Mine, too, are silent.
I do my best imagining at night,
And you do yours with the help of shadows.
Like actors rehearsing a play,
The dark ones withdrew
Into remote corners of the room.
The rest of us sat in expectation
Of your burning oratory.
If you did say something, I'm none the wiser.
The breakfast finished,
The coffee drugs were unenlightening.
Like a lion cage at feeding time,
The floor at my feet turned red.
If you didn't see the six-legged dog,
It doesn't matter.
We did, and he mostly lay in the corner.
As for the extra legs,
One got used to them quickly
And thought of other things.
Like, what a cold, dark night
To be out at the fair.
Then the keeper threw a stick
And the dog went after it
On four legs, the other two flapping behind,
Which made one girl shriek with laughter.
She was drunk and so was the man
Who kept kissing her neck.
The dog got the stick and looked back at us.
And that was the whole show.
Here come my night thoughts
Returning from studying the heavens.
What they thought about
Stayed the same,
Stayed immense and incomprehensible.
My mother and father smile at each other
Knowingly above the mantel.
The cat sleeps on, the dog
Growls in his sleep.
The stove is cold and so is the bed.
Now there are only these crutches
To contend with.
Go ahead and laugh, while I raise one
Swaying on the front porch,
While pointing at something
In the gray distance.
You see nothing, eh?
Neither do I, Mr. Milkman.
I better hit you once or twice over the head
With this fine old prop,
So you don't go off muttering
I saw something!
Note: Little Night Music was first published
in The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late & New
Poems. Sunlight was first published in The
Best American Poetry 2005, originally from New England
Review. Country Fair and The Something were first
published in The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997.
译自《2005 年最佳美国诗作》，原载《新英格兰评论》。 《乡