Jidi Majia: I, Snow Leopard
I, SNOW LEOPARD is both a lyric and an elegy. It is easy to imagine its lines being loudly hailed in whatever country the poem finds itself in. It’s publication comes at a time when people everywhere have begun to wonder what a voice like this, suppressed for centuries, wishes to say now, in this moment when the Snow Leopard’s human brothers and sisters find themselves side by side with him. Imperiled.
I, Snow Leopard is a poem by Jidi Majia. a Chinese writer born into the Nuosu people who live in the mountains of Sichuan in south-western China. Though his work has won prestigious awards and been translated into several languages, his writings have received scant notice in the west, until this poem was championed by the American writer Barry Lopez. He wrote an eloquent introduction to the English language translation, which can be read here courtesy of Orion magazine. The poem is written from the perspective of one the most elusive wild creatures on earth (as depicted in my 2016 painting ‘Death Is The Road To Awe’ above), warning us that, in essence: “This thing that’s coming for me, it’s coming for you too.”