an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22


Cao Shui


I walk along carrying an injured fish

This pot only fits one fish

How was it that the fish was injured?

I too want to know the answer

Only an examination will reveal the truth

I traveled past mountains, oceans

I travel through centuries, millenia

Great rivers cut through deep valleys

One night I fell into flooding waters

The fish jumped out from the jar

I could only stare as she left

People say I’m affable

The fish now becomes a mermaid

With servant girls by her side

A waning moon sits upon my head

The mermaid ascends the moon

A drop of fragrant dew drops down

I extended my hands to catch it

And suddenly understood life that’s passed, life that comes

Translated by  Brendan HigginbottomUSA)From the poetry collection “Flowers of Empire” published by Fiori d’Asia Editrice


Cao Shui is a Chinese poet, novelist, screenwriter and translator. So far twenty books of Cao Shui have been published, including five poem collections, three essay collections, ten novels, three translations and one hundred episodes TV series and films. He is a member of China Writers Association, China Film Association and China Poetry Society. He is also chief editor of Great Poetry, deputy editor in chief of World Poetry, secretary general of Boao International Poetry Festival and vice president of the Silk Road International Poetry Festival. Currently he lives in Beijing, and works as a professional writer and screenwriter.