Treasure Island

David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

Pu Tong Hua


English is simple, it flitters from the tongue,
It means what it says when all’s said and done,
No matter how we say it, stress it or declaim,
In English it always means the same, same, same!

Chinese is difficult, your ‘Pu Tong Hua’,
Is drawn in little pictures that go back so-o-o far,
And every one’s a concept, with no strict meanings
Making it impossible to delve your gleanings.

As often as I study, and try as I might,
I can’t get your xiang xing’s or qing qing’s right.
There isn’t any gender; there isn’t any tense,
So how can your past, present, future, make sense?

Then when I’ve mastered some simple Chinese
You say: ‘That’s fine – but it’s Wenzhou-nese,
Nobody in Guangzhou, Wuhan or Beijing
Would understand a pennyworth of what you’re saying! ’

Every city’s dialect differs from the main,
Canton-ese, Shanghai-nese, nothing is the same.
Beijing has its Mandarin, the old ‘Pu Tong Hua’,
But it’s not what you’ll hear in a Wenzhou bar.

So don’t look for sympathy with adjectives and pauses,
Proper nouns or pronouns, adverbial clauses,
Your cousin’s not your brother, and a ‘she’s’ not a ‘him’,
But how do I tell you in your old Mandarin?

4 April 2006

Submitted: Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Edited: Monday, November 03, 2008
Listen to this poem:

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Pu Tong Hua by David Lewis Paget )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Manhattan Kindergarten, Saiom Shriver
  2. inks run out, lee fones
  3. Oh! Divinity, Nasarudheen.P. Parameswaran
  4. Άνεμος, Angelos Ioannou
  5. Forever, Frank Avon
  6. SHADOWS, Donald R Charon
  7. Crying Bee, Steve Kittell
  8. Walk the Walk, Donald R Charon
  9. To Smile Even In Sadness, Rohit Sapra
  10. In secrets, gajanan mishra

Poem of the Day

poet Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  4. 1914 V: The Soldier, Rupert Brooke
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  8. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  9. If, Rudyard Kipling
  10. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]