Three Poems


Zhu Xiao Di





I Read to Sleep



I read to sleep, and wake to snore

My wife chortles, and says that’s weird

How could that be possible, she askes

I drink coffee and feel drowsy

Often proclaiming to her I can’t sleep

without a cup of tea. She sneers

as if it’s impossible. That’s true, I retort

Don’t you always wake me up

when you shut down the TV?

She snorts and thinks I’m impossible

When impossible becomes the norm

what else can be expected?





Wisdom of Age



Wealthy men entering heaven,

says the Bible,

is harder than camel going through

the eye of needle


An ancient man

says in China,

it’s hard for a man of fortune

to write a good article


The hardest of all,

say I, who never wrote poems

before 60, is to make

poetry now. What a fool 





Weather Forecast



The weather forecast says:

It’ll rain in half an hour,

stop an hour later.


I was just about to go for a walk.

What happens next?

Four possibilities:


I wait at home,

for the rain to stop.

But the forecast was wrong.

I’ve wasted my time.


I take a chance,

get poured upon.

Return home

soaking wet.


Maybe I’m lucky,

punctually enjoy my walk,

my vanity, my

self-celebrated valor.


Likely the forecast’s accurate.

When the rain stops I go out

to meet sunshine, rainbow, blue sky,

and green raindrops hanging on twigs.









Zhu Xiao Di is the author of Thirty Years in a Red House (memoir), Tales of Judge Dee (novel), Leisure Thoughts on Idle Books (essays in Chinese), and lately a few poems (in both Chinese and English).  He is also a contributor to Father: Famous Writers Celebrate the Bond Between Father and Child (anthology), along with John Updike and Winston Groom. 



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