The World of Chinese

The Rain Comes


When the rain comes, it comes without a sound like a hermit in ancient times walking a long way to see another hermit.

We sit cross-legged by the river, listening to the night wind combing through a sea of bamboo, our hearts clean as empty bowls waiting to be filled with water.

This world is too full, of things too beautiful to bear, like the distant green mountains, by night as by day, their forests, mists, beasts, clouds, and immortal legends making us a magnificen­t offering.

When we slip away from the leaping flames, that bonfire enchantmen­t, we sit quietly in the pulp of the night, sinking into a silence beyond words, hearing at last the sound of running water, as clear as a tsunami in the deep.

Born in 1986 to a family of beekeepers in Tongcheng, Anhui province, Li Xiaojian is a poet now based in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. He won Peking University’s Weiming Poetry Prize in 2009, and Anhui’s Zipeng Poetry Prize in 2011. Nostalgia for his childhood and hometown is a constant theme of Li’s poetry. These poems are from his collection Beekeeping Diary 《(养蜂手记》).

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