Archive for November, 2009

A letter

November 28, 2009

6. J’ÉCRIS UNE LETTRE

J’ai une lettre à écrire. Je prends une feuille de papier à lettre et je la pose devant moi sur la table. Je prends un porte-plume, je trempe ma plume dans l’encre et j’écris. Je sèche l’écriture avec du papier buvard. Je prends une enveloppe, je l’ouvre, je plie ma lettre en deux, je la glisse dans l’enveloppe, je ferme l’enveloppe et j’écris l’adresse. Je colle un timbre dans le coin droit supérieur de l’enveloppe et je jette la lettre dans la boîte au lettres.
(D’après Gouin)

—from Short Stories for Oral French,
by Anna Woods Ballard, p. 8

*

A new mailbox has appeared on my street. I find an envelope in my desk and wet a stamp; it sticks crookedly on the upper right corner of the envelope. I write my professor’s address, which I found on an old receipt in his handwriting. The receipt had been lying in a book of correspondence between my favorite poets, one on the cusp of divorce, the other flirting with madness. I fold a sheet of matching stationery in half, then press it back open. My pen is new. It is poised above the sheet of paper, the letter poised on the tip of the pen. A drop of ink settles into the crease in the middle of the sheet. I dry the drop with my lips—the perfect blotter. Which one of us is mad this time? No matter; I have a letter to mail.

Poem by Wang An-shih

November 24, 2009

Written on a Wall
at Halfway-Mountain Monastery
by Wang An-shih
(trans. David Hinton)

1

When I wander, heaven starts raining,
and when I’m done, rain’s gone again.

How could rain by my own wandering?
Pure chance brought us together here.

2

If it’s cold, I just sit somewhere warm,
and if it’s hot, I wander somewhere cool:

all beings no different from Buddha,
Buddha precisely all beings themselves.