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Lim Yang-min / 林央敏

Lim Yang-min / 林央敏

Lim Yang-min (b. 1955), a author and poet in Taiwanese language, has worked as an elementary teacher, university instructor, chairman of Taiwanese Development Association, president of Jiadong Taiwanese Magazine Monthly, and now is the publisher of Taiwan Literature Battlefront Magazine. He wrote classical Chinese poems at ten years old and published Chinese modern poems at seventeen. His famous Taiwanese poem Do Not Despise Taiwan was published in 1987 causing a great sensation at home and abroad. His poem also stimulated Taiwanese national identity consciousness growth and has strong influence on democratic movements in Taiwan. In the ten years to come, Lim is still participant in liberation movements and Taiwanese Renaissance. Lim’s works was censored and banned by the Kuomintang government from 1987~1991. After political democratization in 1996, Lim’s works were selected for textbooks of elementary school, high school and university. Lim published most of his works between the mid-1980s and the mid-2010s, such as the first poetry anthology The Man Sleep On The Map in 1984 and Love Songs for Taiwan in 1997. He published more than 30 books, including novels Yearning for Bodhi (菩提相思經), the first epic of Taiwanese Literature Ian Tsi Lui (Scarlet Tears,胭脂淚), short story collections President Chiang has gone to Long Live (蔣總統萬歲了), prose collections Birth of Butterfly (蝶之生), and thesis Taiwanese Novels History and Overall Criticism of Works (台語小說史及作品總評) etc.



    Servant Girl / 女奴


Moonlight reflects on her furrowed forehead

Frosty dew chills the stone bench, icy water soaks the grease-stained apron

Willow trees with budding green leaves, mirrored in her eyes, tilt towards the lonely light

Dustpan and bamboo broom rest by the front steps

Moonlight reflects on her furrowed forehead

Inch-thick spring dust deepens her eyebrows

Sh-chiu Sh-chiu, echoes softly through the fluttering breeze

ka ka, the thrashing sounds of clothes washed under the hanging stars

Moonlight reflects on her furrowed forehead

Are the other imprisoned young maids, gazing at the moon?

What about the concubines in Emperor Tang Ming Huang's* palace?  Moon!

When will the candlelight turn red inside her bridal chamber?

Moonlight reflects on her furrowed forehead

Layers of green moss thicken on the rocks under the front steps

Dare not look into the mirror, for where should the tears of resentment be directed?

Tonight, will the fragrant tuberose bring sweet dream?

Moonlight reflects on her furrowed forehead.


*Tang Ming Huang (include his year of reign info etc. here)                         




    Do Not Despise Taiwan / 毋通嫌台灣


If we love our ancestors

please do not despise Taiwan

although our land is narrow

the sweat of our father, blood of our mother

flows deep and all over the earth


If we love our descendants

Please do not despise Taiwan

surrounded by rice fields, and mountains

sweet fruits and fragrant grains

our future generation will never eat emptiness


If we love our birthplace

Please do not despise Taiwan

although our livelihood is not easy

with diligence, hard work, our future shines bright

our happiness is assured.




“Ian Tsi Lui” Lovers / 胭脂淚裡的戀影


                 Excerpted from Chapter 10, Section 3 of the book, “Ian Tsi Lui(胭脂淚)


In the dusky hours of midnight

two anguished lovers

perched on the desolate river bank

bemoaned the blood feud among their ancestors.

Enmity between the clans congealed

into an ice-cold heartless knife

that slashed their thread of love, fated by divine providence.


In the previous era, rustic and provincial,

the sixteen year old, gentle, pure young girl

dared not defy the tenet dictated from her clan.

Neither was the pensive young man strong enough to oppose the old conventions.

Together they faced a bitter frigid death

exchanging their lives for their vision of rebirth.


In this moment,

the young man, with his muscular strong arms

embraced  his love  tightly to his chest

intertwined their bodies into one

molded their flesh and  blood together into a statute.

The autumn breeze spun itself into a soft comb

trailing the girl's long silky hair bottom toward the water

shattering the moonlight  into pieces

like glittering crystals on the bed of the river

drifting to and fro.


As the moonlight faded into the horizon,                                       

silent tears seeped from the statute's eyes.                                       

As they dried up, each drop, scarlet,                                                           

stained the desolate river bank.

The union of their identical blood drops

turned into precious crimson gems

leaving traces of the love

of three incarnations from the womb, at the bottom of the river.


The disheartened stars ceased to illuminate the night sky.

The anguished  lovers

transformed their utter despair into courage.

Depleted of blood, but hearts determined

the entwined couple plunged into the river of life

that meandered towards the end of the village

carrying  their doomed  love of this incarnation

towards the faraway hereafter.



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