Our translator Dave Haysom brought this tiny poem in as an appetiser. Although it’s very short we ended up discussing it for nearly half an hour. It brings together two very different sets of traditions – the European import of Valentine’s Day and the Chinese ritual of burning paper ‘ghost’ money for the dead. The poem is a snappy rhyming couplet, and with limited time we only managed this half-rhyme, but we had a lot of fun looking for alternatives. ‘First love passed away. / Didn’t burn ghost currency’; ‘First love joined the heavenly host. / No money for the ghosts’; ‘First love was a wrongun. / Didn’t burn ghost wonga’; ‘First love kicked the bucket. / I just said’… oh well, you get the idea.
Clare Pollard - Poet Facilitator