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Jack Ross  

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


Three Texts from Other Texts


Pale Star:
K.M., 1923

(after Xu Zhimo)


Unintentionally imitating Chinese style
her hair was pitch black & straight

Her features seemed to me
like the purest Indian jade

or pristine snow in the Alps
Her brightly-coloured clothes

might have aroused some criticism
had they been worn by anyone else

on her they looked becoming
like green leaves on a flower

Her figure was so fragile
that a man standing beside her

felt his breathing to be too coarse




    Ich ging im Walde
So für mich hin,
Und nichts zu suchen,
Das war mein Sinn.
I went for a walk
in my lunch-hour
not looking for anything
in particular
    Im Schatten sah ich
Ein Blümchen stehn,
Wie Sterne leuchtend
Wie Äuglein schön.
I found a wild briar
undermining the wall
of an old foundry
like rusty steel
    Ich wollt es brechen,
Da sagt' es fein:
Soll ich zum Welken,
Gebrochen sein?
I knelt down beside it
although it looked
as if it were saying
Why should I be plucked
    Ich grubs mit allen
Den Würzeln aus,
Zum Garten trug ichs
Am hübschen Haus.
just to wither for you?
but I broke off a shoot
& carried it back
replanted it
    Und pflanzt es wieder
Am stillen Ort;
Nun zweigt es immer
Und blüht so fort.
by the link-fence
round my backyard
which it’s climbing all over
like a noxious weed



China, 1908

(after Kathleen Pih-Chang)


I remember people seemed
to be quite friendly

with the missionaries
Once a robber broke

into their compound
& was executed

His head was put into
a wooden cage

& hung up on a tree
I remember as a child

seeing such cages
with little heads inside

sold in shops for toys


©Jack Ross