Mailing a pair of shoes by Lo Fu

Original poem in Chinese

Note: Translation by John Balcom

From a thousand miles away
I’m mailing you a pair of cotton shoes
A letter
With no words
Containing more than forty years of things to say
Things only thought but never said
One sentence after another
Closely stitched into the soles
What I have to say I’ve kept hidden for so long
Some of it hidden by the well
Some of it hidden in the kitchen
Some of it hidden under my pillow
Some of it hidden in the flickering lamp at midnight
Some of it has been dried by the wind
Some of it has grown moldy
Some of it has lost its teeth
Some of it has grown moss
Now I gather it all together
And stitch it closely into the soles

The shoes may be too small
I measured them with my heart, with our childhood
With dreams from deep in the night
Whether they fit or not is another matter
Please, never throw them away
As if they were worn-out shoes
Forty years of thought
Forty years of loneliness
Are all stitched into the soles

4 thoughts on “Mailing a pair of shoes by Lo Fu

  1. I love this poem too. Actually I want to do a paper on this poem but I cannot find enough information on the poet. Can you help me as soon as you can?

  2. Here is some info on the poet: http://china.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=9223&x=1

    At the bottom right on this page http://china.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=9238&x=1
    is a note from the poet about his reason for writing this poem.

    This book New perspectives on contemporary Chinese poetry
    By Christopher Lupke has some info/analysis on the poem. You can find the book and the relevant pages on Google Books for free online.

    Hope that helps Muhamad!

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