Toy Boat

3238836601_08e731b2d7_oInadequate paddles, a child’s boat.
It got us to the far bank
Where summer grass choked the shore
And the heat scent of summer grass grew heavy on the cooling air.

Somewhere a car-camper played a radio.
Everything seemed to stand still:
The boat still; the water still;
But we startled the shorebirds and they rose all about us, all at once.

An account of a poem by Ouyang Xiu, “A Light Boat With Short Oars (Picking Mulberries).” Here is the original:


Here is a word-for-word version from

Light boat short oar west lake good
Green water gently curving
Fragrant grass long dyke
Faint pipe song everywhere follow

Without wind water surface glaze smooth
Not notice boat move
Little move ripples
Startle rise sand bird brush bank fly

Image: Riappropriazione 2/3: affondare by Flickr user Daniele, published under a Creative Commons  Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) license.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s