World Literature

A Train of Fantasy – Poems from China

A bouquet of poems selected from the book ‘A Fantasy of Train’ by Chinese poet Yi Nong

A Train of Fantasy and seven other poems

By Yi Nong

Yi Nong

Yi Nong, pen name of Tao Shixiong, born in the 1970’s, is an outstanding poet in contemporary China. He is a member of Ningxia Writers Association, a director of Yinchuan Writers Association, a member of Suzhou Writers Association as well as a member of The Poetry Institute of China. Since his sophomore year of college, Yi Nong has embarked on the journey of poetry creation and publication on provincial-level journals. Altogether, he has about one thousand poems published at home and abroad in various newspapers, magazines and on new media platforms; some of his masterpieces find their way to scores of poem selections on both provincial and national levels. He has won literary awards. Yi Nong has published two anthologies of poetry: Crow’s Feet and Stone in the Flow of Time, both entering the “Digital database of Chinese writers’ literary works”.


A Train of Fantasy

From behind a half-open ticket window

A hand with no warmth

Hands out a number marker of Destiny

Standing, sitting, lying on front or on back

Is never up to me

The train now speeds up, now slows down

So fast that flowers bloom and instantly fade

So slow that on the journey the passengers’ hair and beard turn hoary

Some travel alone, some travel accompanied

Some stick around, some part company as strangers

Upon waking up from my dream, I only remember the conductor’s 

Whisper in my ear:

Life is—

Myriads of get-togethers

Followed by myriads of




The so-called freedom

Is nothing but

A momentary


When you look up into the sky

Upon jumping

Out of a small circle

Into a bigger one


Grief is a Luxury

After listening to


Pathétique Symphony

I open my widow

Only to see beneath a street lamp

A snow-white flock

Of ingenuous lambs

Are being whipped

To hasten towards

A quiet



Across the street



A conflagration swept from the west to the east

From the south to the north

Scorching the earth for seven years

Killing 90 million

A single sparkle

Tends to be blown out by a waft of breeze

But sometimes, the sparkle happens to fall onto a powder keg

And thus empowered to transform, or even—

Destroy the whole



In the Grand Hall of Sakyamuni

Amid the curling smoke of burning incense

Amid the murmurs of chanting sutras

The general kneels down, so does the convict

The beggar kneels down, so does the thief

The whore kneels down, so does the hawker

Even the emperor and his ministers kneel down too

While kneeling down amid the crowd

I have an epiphany: the greatness of Buddha

Lies not in that He is beyond the multitudes

But in that He never divides

Those praying for blessings and those repenting 

Into general, convict, thief

Whore, hawker

Or king

Or minister



From the south to the north

From the Occident to the Orient

Scattered on the earth, there are innumerous

Vaulted, or flat-ceilinged

Red, brown or white

Big or small, new

Or old temples, churches or mosques

That house one God or Gods

Who’d with great patience teach us?

These restless sparrows gazing around

How to perch quietly

And leisurely

Upon the twig of Fate

That keeps swaying

Now up and down, now to and fro



I want to be restful

But the wind is restless

I just want to grow

More leaves

Later I discover, one leaf the less

The more relaxed I should feel

And after a whole season of losing leaves

I should grow up a little bit

But why do I

Have countless


To lose


The Axe

With sinews severed

Bones broken and bark peeled

Some blocks of wood should conspire with man

To fell

Their kin who are

Still standing


Wang Changling- China-Sindh CourierTranslated by Wang Changling. She teaches at the School of Foreign Studies, Anhui Normal University, who has co-compiled Advanced English Course (2019) and published around ten papers about literature and translation. She has published several English versions of Chinese essays in Chinese Translators Journal and English Language Learning and co-translated several books. She has been awarded twice for excellent translation. Her motto: I translate, therefore I am. To her, poetry is what redeems the soul.




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