Translated by Alexandra Draggeim
Ma Deqing (1952-2013) was born in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. He was a prolific member of the Chinese Writers Association. His poetry collections include The World of the Yi People, My Love, and The Yi People Crossing the Century; he has written novels such as The Star of Natural Disaster and Traces Broken by the Thick Wall. His novel Like the Day River was awarded the second Ethnic Literature Prize of Sichuan Province.
Eagle in the Sky
Where the sun and the horizon meet,
A black song soars in the sky,
Recited by thunder and lightning,
Chanted by the wind and rain,
Read out by the passing years,
Written down in people’s hearts.
In the world of the Yi people
Dreams passed down from our ancestors
Soar in the sky,
Carrying with them ancient legends,
Telling beautiful tales,
Yet no longer yearning for the past.
A kind of stubborn disposition,
A sort of unwavering banner.
Seek out newer passions
Along the golden mountain road!
Throw off your ignorant pride,
Throw off your poverty-stricken worries!
There is now but one traditional kind of courage:
There is now but one legacy of our fathers:
Looking out at the distant heavens,
Our ancestors’ words now seem misleading,
Because beyond our sky there is more sky,
The outside world is even more magnificent.
Soar, no matter if the clouds and wind might change;
Do not change course again.
Soar, no matter if the earth might tremble;
Move on together with the times.
From Chinese Literature Today Vol. 4 No. 1