Zhou Zan - JAY

She always heard their talking,
could translate it like Gong Ye-chang
who understood the language of birds.
One of the jays returned from a far journey,
full of herself chattering about her adventures.
The other jays screeched at her some believed
some doubted they made such a racket
that the taleteller raised her voice long and loud
proudly at first, then sad as if
her secret was out she was so tired ah
she refused to go on she refused to enlighten these fools.
And mum always criticised her called her a burden of talking.
Shut up Jay
you’re too small you can’t even carry things.
But one day a jay
died under the locust tree fell
from the nest of sleep
her beak firmly closed but she
was too young couldn’t translate death’s silence.

Translated by Pascale Petit and Zhou Zan