Translated by Lulei Su
Archery festival, Chifeng inner Mongolia, 2013. Photo by Mark Bender.
Asu Yue’er was born in a Yi village in Liangshan Prefecture in 1966. He graduated from the Department of Ethnic Literature at Southwest University for Nationalities in 1989. His anthology Poems of Asu Yue’er won the third Sichuan Ethnic Literature Award. He is a member of the Sichuan Writers’ Association.
The Village Girl
You sang under every wisp of cloud,
Sheep scattered among the beautiful hills.
Your time, too, was
Stretched across the slopes and ridges.
Black sheep and white sheep mixed together
Were the joy and sorrow of your days.
On a windy, rainy day
A group of people from the other side of the mountain arrived.
Surrounding your beautiful shyness, they then
Took you away from your weeping mother.
At the foot of the densely populated mountain,
You were welcomed by a heavy backpack
And another wisp of cloud that belongs to you.
Everyone says that the trip from the village to the school
Is but a few hours,
But this journey took you an entire twelve years.
From Chinese Literature Today Vol. 4 No. 1