Aranya Dong is teaching Chinese at a middle school in West Linn, Oregon on sabbatical . She has been an English teacher at middle and high schools in Henan, China for over 25 years. She has received several awards, including The National Backbone Teacher of China in 2009, Backbone Teacher of Henan in 2009, Distinguished Teacher of Henan in 2009 and Professional and Technical Top-Notched Personnel of Zhengzhou, Henan in 2014.
(Translated from Chinese)
How many years have you flown so quietly from east to the sea, Willamette?
How many stories have you witnessed and are hidden in your heart?
How many people have cried beside you, Willamette?
Though they covered their faces with their hands,
their tears dropped in your breast.
How many lovers walked beside you with your hands holding tight, Willamette?
They never hide their love in front of you.
They hug, they kiss,
to each other they say loving words.
People sometimes pour dirty waste onto your body, Willamette.
You are sad, but you just walk away silently.
You never protest for yourself, Willamette,
'cause you know useless protests can only make you exhausted.
You know they will pay for their stupidity, Willamette.
One day they will clean your reputation and give back your glory.
You have seen too many glories and failures, Willamette.
You have seen prosperity and poverty,
first lush and chopped, flowers bloom and fade,
tides up and down, geese away and back.
You are always like a wise mum, Willamette.
You let the wind roar over your head, rain pour into your heart.
On you flow, slowly and gracefully.
Published on page 60 in the 2017 Honoring Our Rivers.