the land, extending itself, makes
one turn after another, spitting
village after village, till it gives
its cold light to the gaping grave.
I, a blunt knife, hammered on an anvil
have been hardened--for three years
three years Till a miracle happens--
will I be able to return from it?
Born in 1965, in Fenghua, Zhejiang, Shu Cai was originally Chen Shucai. He graduated with a BA in French literature from the Department of French Language and Literature, Beijing Foreign Languages University in 1987. From 1990 to 1994 he worked as a diplomat in the Chinese Embassy in Senegal and has since been working as a research fellow in Foreign Literature Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He won the Medal of Academic Palm Knight in France in 2008. His publications include such collections of poetry as Solitaire (China, 1997), and Short Poems by Shu Cai (Hong Kong, 2004) and his translations of French literature include A Selection of Poems by Pierre Reverdy (China, 2002), Selected Poems by Rene Char (China, 2002), and Selected Poems by Nine French Poets (Shanghai, 2009). In July 2012, Shu Cai was invited to attend the Winter Translation School by Monash University in Melbourne.