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Handout 1: Perhaps

Shu Ting (1952- ), translated by Carolyn Kizer, from Carrying Over: Poems from the Chinese, Urdu, Macedonian, Yiddish, and French African. Copyright 1988 by Carolyn Kizer. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press,


for the loneliness of an author

Perhaps these thoughts of ours

will never find an audience

Perhaps the mistaken road

will end in a mistake

Perhaps the lamps we light one at a time

will be blown out, one at a time

Perhaps the candles of our lives will gutter out

without lighting a fire to warm us.

Perhaps when all the tears have been shed

the earth will be more fertile

Perhaps when we sing praises to the sun

the sun will praise us in return

Perhaps these heavy burdens

will strengthen our philosophy

Perhaps when we weep for those in misery

we must be silent about miseries of our own


Because of our irresistible sense of mission

We have no choice

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Last updated on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

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