Here is a ditch of hopeless water,
The fresh breeze would not even raise half a ripple.
One might as well throw in a few more tins and scraps of metal
And why not pour in your left-over food and gravy
Perhaps the green of the copper will turn into emerald,
Rust on the tin cans emerge as petals of peach blossom;
Then let grease weave a layer of patterned muslin,
And bacteria brew vapours of coloured clouds.
Let the dead water ferment into a gully of green wine,
Floating pearl-like crowds of white foam;
The laughter of small pearls will change them to large pearls
Broken by mosquitoes to steal the alcohol.
Even a ditch of hopeless dead water
Can boast of some ornaments.
If the green frogs can’t bear the silence,
Then we can say that the dead water can sing.
Here is a ditch of hopeless dead water,
This cannot be a place where beauty lives,
Better let ugliness cultivate it,
And see what kind of world comes of it.
Transl. Tao Tao Sanders.