Poems by Lan Lan

Inside Eternity…

A few bands of rain inside eternity. Breezes;
forlorn inside eternity, the sunset at dusk
………….a blank gaze;

apple blossoms fall in a graveyard;
singing, desolate myriad city lights;

two ears of wheat, a cloud

put them into your sky-blue.


The dead know our lies. At dawn
forest birds know the wind.

Fruits know irrigation from the land’s blood
Cries know the dignity of a a wine glass.

Stones in my throat signify dead souls
Drink it! Wheels of beasts’ carts need grease–

crushing man, and the truth that teeth try to speak.
The world twists in the cracks of a blind skull

…where the dark arrives


Wind blows things away from his body.

Wooden bridge. A night of miners’ lamps, dew on leaves like sparrow tongues
an arm…….a face…….a forest
of dandelion pistils in the eyes.
Blows away the canyon in his body.
An empty house. Silent voices
left on the wall for years.

Wind blows away his organs…….the horizon of kinship.
Wind empties him little by little.
He becomes sand grains…..powder
…………..Wind lets him live forever–

Wild Sunflower

Come autumn the wild sunflower head
will be chopped off.
Those who walk past her will suddenly
turn back. Dusk soon,
with sunset, her face transforms
into golden smoke,
along the vast summer.

Through whom? A horizon of buckwheat flowers?
Old past veiled in sorrow, for whom
have I died once more?

Untrue wild sunflower. Untrue
A lethal thorn of autumn wind pricks my chest.


I don’t love the coat, I love the body.
Or: I love the soul’s cotton shoulder.
Stillness within a beating heart.

I want both: light and flame.
My love is gentle and proud.

But here: words flee, along
the coat and body.


Lan Lan

Lan Lan is the nom de plume of Hu Lanlan, born in 1967 in Yantai, Shandong Province. Publishing since the age of fourteen, she is considered an influential lyrical poet in contemporary China. Bestselling author of nine poetry titles including Life with a Smile (1990); Songs of Romance (1993); Inner Life (1997); Sleep, Sleep (2003); and From Here, to Here (2008), she also has published three volumes of prose and several collections of children's fiction. Her writings are translated into English, French, Russian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Belgian, and Romanian. Since 2003, she has been invited regularly to various international poetry festivals. Awarded the prestigious Liu Li'an Poetry Prize in 1996, she was voted by a panel of seventy Chinese critics and poets as the top writer of the "Best Ten Female Poets." In 2009, she also garnered four of the nation's most important literary awards: the Poetry & People Award (considered the most influential Chinese popular international award), the Yulong Poetry Prize, the "Best Ten Poets in China" Award, and the Bing Xin Children's Literature New Work Award. She currently lives in Beijing.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Fiona Sze-Lorrain writes and translates in French, English, and Chinese. Author of Water the Moon (Marick Press, 2010), she is co-director of Vif éditions and one of the editors at Cerise Press. She is also a zheng concertist.

Copyright (c) Lan Lan, 2009. English translation copyright (c) Fiona Sze-Lorrain, 2011.