ZHOU Yunpeng (PRC) – IPNHK 10th Anniversary Celebration

ZHOU Yunpeng

ZHOU Yunpeng (PRC), born in the city of Shenyang in Liaoning Province, is an independent folk singer and poet. At the age of nine, he has lost his eyesight to an eye disease and then studied at the school for the visually impaired. With perseverance, he graduated as a Chinese major from Changchun University in 1994. Afterwards, he was assigned to work at a factory and received social security payments. In 1995, he started busking in the Old Summer Palace in Beijing and then continued to write as he wandered the country. In 2007, he produced the album Children of China at his own expense, the music of which is beautifully melancholic and reminiscent of social reality. The album earned him the Best Folk Artist and the Best Lyricist at the 8th Chinese Music Media Awards. In 2011, his poetry collection The Love That Cannot Speak won the Poetry Prize at the People’s Literature Awards.

The Life of Water

Fierce whirlpool in an hourglass tempest crowning
Chills into cobblestone wrinkles moving is living
In rings of ripples spectral frustration beneath eight thousand yards of worry
Mermaid half dragon in moonlight bubbles sinking ships broken bank of fishing nets
Lighthouse seabirds iceberg white whale spouts a column of water campfires on a deserted island coral reef the bird-maiden Jingwei’s resentment Luo River goddess
Wailings out of a stalactite cavern the floods of 1938 crow picks up a stone Odyssey begins white snake floating on West Lake
Sirens sing of drowned men looking for a substitute aging Dragon King ancient kingdom beneath the Atlantic boiling marsh waterfall’s deluge useless semen of the poor
Xiang River goddess’s marriage bed Yuan Zhen’s green sea Wu Gorge maiden dawn in a dead fish’s eye First Emperor’s immortality-hungry eye sinking mountain of immortals
Lao Tzu’s goodness parted Red Sea Ark on Mount Ararat Bo Ya stopping a current Qutang Gu leaving lover for money
Li Bai scooping the moon’s reflection Heraclitus crossing the river wedding water turned to wine blood spattered over the gallows as many Buddhas as grains of sand in the Ganges
Styx behind the madman a girl’s tears on her first night Jordan River flowing over lambskin kidneys of Chinese people Xu You’s moist ears
Jonah meets God in the belly of a whale Oh the ocean’s waves are turgid Qu Yuan washes his feet Zhuang Zhou knows the happiness of fish
Xi Shi hangs up laundry in the south King Zhou sets up a cauldron of oil in the north Shelley’s soul overfills with seawater an IV bag holds the dregs of an unfresh age

2002, Beijing

(Translated by Canaan Morse)