MANY thanks to Lesley Duncan for taking such pains to choose a Poem of the Day for us. I have several of them copied into my Commonplace Books. Of the four Japanese poems, in translation by Graeme Wilson (Poem of the Day, The Herald, December 27), I was very moved by the last one, Fringed Pinks. I do not have a great knowledge of Japanese poetry but do often read the translations from the Chinese by Arthur Waley.

One that echoes the sentiment of Fringed Pinks poem is Li Fu-Jen written by Wu-Ti, the sixth Emperor of the Han Dynasty, when his mistress died:

The sound of her silk skirt has stopped.

On the marble pavement dust grows.

My empty room is cold and still.

Fallen leaves are piled against the doors.

Longing for that lovely lady

How can I bring my aching heart to rest?

Such a cool contrast to the robins, tinsel and Christmas music of the past few days. There is a rather salutary drinking song by Shen Hsun which I remembered as I walked in the wood. I could hear a gun firing in the distance and thought of this song -

Shoot not the wild geese from the south;

Let them northward fly.

When you do shoot, shoot the pair of them,

So that the two may not be put asunder.

Possibly do not shoot them at all would be my wish. So thank you to Ms Duncan for her choice of poems. I look forward to them every day.

Thelma Edwards,

Old Comrades Hall,

Hume, Kelso.