Liyun Liu, born December 5, 1954 in Jinggangshan City, Jiangxi Province. Member of the Chinese Writers Association. In the winter of 1972, he joined the army and served as editor-in-chief for the journal, Arts of The People's Liberation Army. He began to publish poems in 1975 and embarked on a long exploration of barrack poetry. Among his published seven books of poems are: Red Swamp, Black Poppy, The Butterfly Longing for the Paradise, Roast Blue, The Most Beautiful Part of Life, and Poison in the Eyes (Taiwan). In addition, he wrote five books of non-fiction, such as Moscow Sunset and Bloody Blades. He has won numerous awards, including "The New Military Works Award," "The People's Liberation Army Book Award," and the "2008 Outstanding Poet Award" from the prestigious journal Poetry. His collection of poems, Roast Blue won the Fifth Lu Xun Literature Award.
Edna Wu is the author of Clouds & Rain: A China-to-America Memoir, Two Eves in the Garden of Eden & A Male Mother, and A Single-Winged Bird. Her major academic and translation publications include Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias (A 1996 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book), A Dream of Glory: A Chuanqi Play by Wang Yun, a novel about the Chinese People's Liberation Army: The Third Eye, and The Remote Country of Women. She is professor of Chinese at California State University, Los Angeles.
Tonight, I am bound to suffer from insomnia! Tonight there are
Seventeen butterflies flying by my window
Like seventeen clouds flying towards the heavens, or
Seventeen snowflakes hovering over the earth. The seventeen butterflies
flip seventeen pairs of white wings, just like
Seventeen holes of the panpipes playing moonlight sonatas.
The seventeen butterflies are of the same butterfly
A beauty that is staggering. A beauty that leaves nothing but beauty.
The seventeen butterflies are dancing. Whose sadness,
whose grudge, whose farewell, and whose prayer
Are they carrying? Seventeen butterflies are dancing,
Like seventeen name cards, handed to heaven.
The cocoon of music quivers under the whips of a gusty wind,
Twitching and twitching, delicate strands torn apart, making you feel some pain
Whose heart can be so eroded by those seventeen butterflies? Whose heart can be
So emptied as to pull out a thousand years of melodies, a thousand years of peach blossoms
And then, with a thousand years of dust, is kneaded into flesh and blood?
The seventeen butterflies are born of the same blood.
Like flames from the same cluster of fire stone that spits crackling
Burning voice, who is laughing?
The flower, born out of death, is such poignant beauty.
It sucks all weight from my confessions and leaves me ashamed.
Dare me to mention those bygone days again.
Oh tonight, I am cursed to be an insomniac!
I am destined to be tortured and crushed by the seventeen butterflies.
I only regret that it may be too late, perhaps too late to catch up.
Tonight, seventeen butterflies will fly from my window
I will knock my forehead and say, "Take me away with you."
Tomorrow, I will redeem the love of my entire life.