The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Saturday and Longwood Library

By Xi Chuan
Translated by Tao Naikan and Tony Prince

The basic meaning of snow is purity, but what it brings
Is absence: absence of starlight
Absence of horses’ hooves clattering
In the cold streets and alleyways, absence of
The bright red nose of the courier coming from Chang’an

A crackling fire deepens the silence
The soul now has depth, like a well
Should someone venture to peer into it
He will not see himself
But another face that will astonish him

The snow that covers all things
Swirls above them like solemn music
The eyebrows of besieged warriors are frozen
Their hair turns gray, they have entered
The vast domain of what we call ‘darkness’

The snow has brought absence, for this
The fire is singing its quiet song
Dawn sprouts silently, in your ears
There is only snow — you have not yet seen
Anyone to bring you charcoal on a snowy day


I had a nice, somewhat unexpected Friday. Paul's office was doing a Toys for Tots drive and group breakfast, after which he expected to come home, but when he went to leave, the tire pressure light was on and the gauge couldn't get a reading on which tire was acting up. Meanwhile, I had lunch plans with Alice, who came over and we were deciding where to go when Paul called to ask whether I could pick him up from the dealer. So we all went to the Silver Diner and did a bit of shopping since Alice was looking for things for her family and I took advantage of being in AC Moore while picture frames were all on sale.

After Alice went to retrieve her son, Paul and I did a bunch of cleanup we hadn't gotten to since the kids were home -- everything from sweeping the leaves off the deck to vacuuming the parts of the first floor we often skip. We talked briefly to Adam, who has accepted a job at Hive in San Francisco after graduating in May! Then we went to my parents' for dinner and Chanukah, went to pick up the car which had its tire pressure light fixed, and watched Blindspot and some more Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. This year Longwood Gardens had lots of awesome carved book decorations in the library and one in the gift shop:

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