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Robyn’s story: anon Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.

For many years I carried round in my wallet a little card with a short poem in slightly blurred ink, given to me by a dear friend. There was no author’s name, but I suspect it is from a Chinese anthology and probably quite ancient – I’ve never checked to see whether the translation was by Pound or Waley, for example, which it may be.

When ice on the pond is four feet thick
And white snow stretches a thousand miles
My heart will still be like the pine and the cypress
But your heart, what will it be?

In some ways it seems quite plaintive – “but your heart, what will it be?” But carrying it reminded me that some hearts are indeed sturdy and true – like the pine and the cypress – and that friendships endure, even though wintry periods.

Robyn was born and grew up in New Zealand, attended university there and then gained her doctorate from Oxford University, where she also did some teaching before joining Carcanet Press. Having been a freelance publishers’ editor, reviewer and translator since moving to Scotland in 1987, she became Director of the SPL in 2000.


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