Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Bella Li

VOYAGE

VOYAGE

VOYAGE

Sullen days. The corsair moves mechanically on its hinges. Beneath our proscenium arch wily ports ply their trade, measuring out the hours in skeletons and lampshades. The hold littered with props. Flat clouds drifting idly along the cardboard coast. (In the dawn they emerge, pale with grief.) I cannot remember biding time in the shallows with the air so steep. And the space behind the sun growing and growing, the stalls silent and empty on quiet nights. There were months when great shadows fell across the waves. And we moved, so it seemed, through lost oceans, past sunken islands from which the sounds of mourning stole. It is true that the flight was exhausting: my eyes reeked of distance. But when the blackness lifted, the horizon—beyond the dim circle of lights—remained featureless, unaltered. Now the shapes of our desires do not change but mimic, with each curtainfall, the appearance of a predictable set of stars. When evening transpires (at the appointed time, in the appointed place), the tide reverses; our loyal machines rise, assemble themselves across the deck. Wolf-like, sand-like. Waiting for that same, slow mirage: the familiar moon, hung from its lamprey sky. Swinging guilt.
Close

VOYAGE

Sullen days. The corsair moves mechanically on its hinges. Beneath our proscenium arch wily ports ply their trade, measuring out the hours in skeletons and lampshades. The hold littered with props. Flat clouds drifting idly along the cardboard coast. (In the dawn they emerge, pale with grief.) I cannot remember biding time in the shallows with the air so steep. And the space behind the sun growing and growing, the stalls silent and empty on quiet nights. There were months when great shadows fell across the waves. And we moved, so it seemed, through lost oceans, past sunken islands from which the sounds of mourning stole. It is true that the flight was exhausting: my eyes reeked of distance. But when the blackness lifted, the horizon—beyond the dim circle of lights—remained featureless, unaltered. Now the shapes of our desires do not change but mimic, with each curtainfall, the appearance of a predictable set of stars. When evening transpires (at the appointed time, in the appointed place), the tide reverses; our loyal machines rise, assemble themselves across the deck. Wolf-like, sand-like. Waiting for that same, slow mirage: the familiar moon, hung from its lamprey sky. Swinging guilt.

VOYAGE

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère