Kids and Grandkids

My favorite poems in Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Chinese are generally those by Tu Fu, but this poem by Mei Yao Ch’en seemed apt since I was also including a happy birthday note for Lael,

XXXVI
AN EXCUSE FOR NOT RETURNING THE VISIT OF A FRIEND

Do not be offended because
I am slow to go out. You know
Me too well for that. On my lap
I hold my little girl. At my
Knees stand my handsome little son.
One has just begun to talk.
The other chatters away without
stopping. They hang on my clothes
And follow my every step.
I can’t get any farther
Than the door. I am afraid
I will never make it to your house.

and it does an excellent job of conveying my own feelings towards my children and grandchildren.

I still remember how lonely I was after my divorce, but having kids stay overnight was an instant cure for that loneliness. I suspect that if I’d had custody of the kids I might never have started dating again, at least until they had left for college.

In my old age, I’ve grown more independent, but I still find it hard to resist the opportunity to baby sit grandkids, though ideally not the night the Huskies are playing a Sweet-16 game.

5 thoughts on “Kids and Grandkids

  1. Oh, I SO understand. My granchildren are far away but I’m sure I feel about my little girls, and my children, although they are all growed up, just as you do about your stunning little beauty. Aren’t we blessed?

  2. Hi,Loren.While surfing on the Internet,I came across your articles about Ezra Pound 3 years ago.I myself admire his Chinese translations as well.The first time I read them,I found myself deeply attracted to them.As a Chinese as well as a English-learner, I must say Ezra Pound’s translation has successfully provoke the same feelings in his readers as those in the originals. His translation is of unspeakable beauty.How I wish you could read the original Chinese text so that you can get a more intense feeling of the beauty of Chinese classic poems. If you like,I can offer you the original versions in Chinese.

  3. Thanks for the offer, Jean, but I’m afraid I can’t read Chinese and doubt that I have enough time left to ever learn it. Perhaps if I’d discovered Chinese and Japanese poetry earlier in my life, I would have learned the language.

    When I took a Chinese literature class in grad school they provided some “literal” translations that offered a very different perspective on the poems.

What do you think?