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Meeting a Silversmith in Kuan Zhai Alley

Xiao Xiao Bei
Translated from Chinese by Ou Shilin

Many years ago, I was an apprentice
in a country blacksmith shop
Back in town this summer, I am now
a silversmith, making bracelets, earrings, hairpins.
and my living by this earthly trade.

In a gentle and considerate manner I use my hammer;
jewelries hurt under too much force;
so would I.
My hand goes astray, occasionally on purpose,
When I miss the iron wares.
Time is so quiet, rusting like an iron pier.

About the author:

Xiao Xiao Bei is a college student writing poems and essays. His works appear in a number of Chinese literature magazines Stars, Flying Goddess, Poetry Monthly, Chinese Poetry and Verse, Poetry and Verse Monthly etc.

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