Poetry Archives Bio

Primary Catalogue of the Order of Delectation

August 9, 2017

This poem has appeared in the Spring 2018 (Volume 19) issue of The Liar magazine.

This is my translation of 「快事主目錄」by 趙元任 [Yuen Ren Chao]. I am thankful to Dr. Derek Choy for his expertise in the finer points of the Chinese language.

Whosoever reckons and enumerates the patterning that proceeds from these elemental items of the "Primary Catalogue," shall know the true purport of beatitude and enchantment and must proceed to merge his understanding with the Order of Delectation.

Primary Catalogue of the Order of Delectation
  • Sunshine
  • Sun lamps
  • The intersection of the main thoroughfare with the second-oldest street
  • Any road of sufficient length
  • Long travels at night
  • Long travels far away from here
  • Streetlamps that shine bright
  • Streetlamps that shine yellow
  • A productive day at work
  • A counterproductive day at nothing
  • Words that fit together like beads on a wire
  • Words that don't fit together like brain tissue and cotton wool
  • Long walks on familiar paths
  • Long walks to nowhere
  • Music that speaks of sorrow
  • The absence of sound in this register
  • Kind, clean animals
  • Kind-looking stuffed animals
  • Total chaos and destruction
  • Excessive moisture pulled down by gravity to its inevitable conclusion
  • Rhythmic cadences
  • Evergreens
  • Consistency
  • Semblance of consistency
  • Horizon lines
  • Bright primary colours
  • Fire
  • The moment between wakefulness and sleep