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Thursday, 2 July 2009



File:Balder Boy 1953.jpg

The time-crinkled photo of the snow
Suit boy in blizzard with big shovel
Who does not yet know he’s to pose problem
For self family and wider world
Only that his purpose is to shovel snow
But having in a wink flake-blinded
Leapt into exactly that white world –
Was it what went wrong? Or that rightness –
Those white designs which childhood fosters
And the thoughts of each harmless hour
And only seeing through a long night
The snow falling all around the edges
Of the world – and low breathings coming after
With footsteps almost soundless in the blank drift

File:Toy robot.JPG

BILORA BOY BOX (camera), bakelite, 1953: photo by John Kratz, 2007
Toy robot in the snow: photo by Jonathon McIntosh, 2003


xileinparadise said...

Tomas, nicely wrought. "flake-blinded" -- it only takes one on the eyelash. Mindful of the poems of Wei Ying-wu (8th Cent). We've come a long way from that snowshovel and snowsuit, coupla midwestern boys.

TC said...


Mindful yet flake-blinded...

Thanks for reminding of Wei Yingwu, a friend in the slipstream and a poet maybe also subject now and then to a bit of nearflakeblindness, esp. in the first of these ("threads of water on our faces").

Wei Yingwu (trans. Witter Bynner)--Four poems

A Farewell in the Evening Rain to Li Cao

Is it raining on the river all the way to Chu? – -
The evening bell comes to us from Nanjing.
Your wet sail drags and is loath to be going
And shadowy birds are flying slow.
We cannot see the deep ocean-gate –
Only the boughs at Pukou, newly dripping.
Likewise, because of our great love,
There are threads of water on our faces.

Mooring at Twilight in Yuyi District

Furling my sail near the town of Huai,
I find for harbour a little cove
Where a sudden breeze whips up the waves.
The sun is growing dim now and sinks in the dusk.
People are coming home. The bright mountain-peak darkens.
Wildgeese fly down to an island of white weeds.
...At midnight I think of a northern city-gate,
And I hear a bell tolling between me and sleep.

At Chuzhou on the Western Stream

Where tender grasses rim the stream
And deep boughs trill with mango-birds,
On the spring flood of last night's rain
The ferry-boat moves as though someone were poling.

An Autumn Night Message to Qiu

As I walk in the cool of the autumn night,
Thinking of you, singing my poem,
I hear a mountain pine-cone fall....
You also seem to be awake.

xileinparadise said...

In Reply To Commisioner Ts'ui

A courtyard of bamboo and late- night snow
a lone lantern a book on the table
if I hadn't encountered the teaching of no effort
how else could I have gained this life of leisure

Wei Ying-wu (trans. Red Pine)

Anonymous said...

Makes me long for the snow that is taking so long this year...

TC said...


Here's another, which I like (among other reasons) for its suggestion that in a time of general unemployment, the employed might experience the occasional pang of conscience.

To My Friends Li Dan and Yuanxi

We met last among flowers, among flowers we parted,
And here, a year later, there are flowers again;
But, with ways of the world too strange to foretell,
Spring only brings me grief and fatigue.
I am sick, and I think of my home in the country-
Ashamed to take pay while so many are idle.
…In my western tower, because of your promise,
I have watched the full moons come and go.

TC said...


Not only is there a flurry of night snow in the Chinese poem just brought us by xileinparadise, but the Patagonian Patch in my crystal ball shows clouds and showers for you for the next week, with night temperatures hovering just above freezing... in my imagination I squeezed a few flakes out of this forecast for your sake...