In the Age of Nasty Women

After Qiu Jin

Don’t tell me a woman

must be a damsel in distress,

when we alone win a war every minute,

every moon.

From pink nails

flows fearless femme freedom,

poems pouring from the tips

of pithy pigtails.

Don’t try to tie our waists,

our dreams cannot be bound.

I dream. I grieve. Ashamed

for all the times I didn’t stand with my

Sisters. But we are ever together in blood.

Marching onward through fear

and through frost.

The only distress we afford is that which we

conceive. So tell me how you think of me?

A whisper of wind? Or a tempest?

 

Notes

Here is the Chinese version of Qiu Jin’s original poem “Capping Rhymes With Sir Shih Ching From Sun’s Root Land” from voiceseducation.org:

(日人石井君索和即用原韵)

漫云女子不英雄,万里乘风独向东。

诗思一帆海空阔,梦魂三岛月玲珑。

铜驼已陷悲回首,汗马终惭未有功。

如许伤心家国恨,那堪客里度春风。

 

Sadly, my Chinese is not yet strong enough to translate my own attempt at mimicking Qiu Jin’s style and form. I might talk to my friend from Beijing about whether she would help me rewrite my poem “In the Age of Nasty Women” in Chinese.

Thanks for reading! ~JM

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