colour of

Official Chang I was a great talker and enjoyed argument; he was capable of declaring black white and white black. Itinerant and braggart, he had a mouth that encompassed oceans and seas, and his tongue wagged as he boasted of seeing the curved roofs of mythical cities. This might be called the “colour” of windbags.

Finally, it should concern those who seek “colour” in writing and speaking that words and sentences have not only form but also sound.

Ah! Considering the vastness of the heavens and the earth, looking around at people and things, reading polished essays, listening to brave utterances, all these go together and make a whole and colourful world. How can colour be said to apply only to painting? Evan those who live good and pure lives are part of this world; they are like the landscapes in light ink by Ni Yun-lin at which the ignorant laugh and poke fun. Today so many people live in limited and colourless worlds. How may they be offered a fuller life and contentment? Pictures are one means, so let us speak of painting.

The mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting (excerpt), Trans. Mai–mai Sze

a4 2017

John Clare: The Temple of Minerva

The Temple of Minerva by John Clare.


The ruin of a ruin – man of mirth

Pause o’er the past and immediate decay

The very stones are perishing to earth

Foundations though all’s left will waste away

Time’s chissel on what’s left still writes ‘Decay’

Which every season wrecks and wears away


A shadow it was present – but ’tis past

Time sickened and life’s nature met decay

Convulsive winds seemed sobbing out their last

When ruin’s piecemeal Temple passed away

The very stones like clay dissolving lye

And solitude half-fearing learns to sigh


See’st thou the steps of yesterday

The night before the last

See’st thou when darkness went away

And daylight winnowed past

The present is – and shadows are

What was so very bright and fair


Spring meadow-flowers was suns and joy

Of present happiness

But when the summer filled the sky

All was another dress

They changed to seed among the hay

And dyed when summer went away


Now evening rosey streaks – a ribboned sky

Spreads in the golden light of the far West

And mighty rocks are pillowed dark and high

The image and the prototype of rest

The heavens’ prophesy where peace is blest

A stillness soft as fall of silent dews

Is felt around – the very dusk looks blest

As is the maiden while her heart pursues

Her evening walk o’er fields in silent dews

Ave Maria, tis the hour of love

When sighs and pains and tears on beauty’s breast

Are whispered into blessings from above

Ave Maria, tis the hour of rest

For man and woman and the weary beast

And parents love the minature delights

That blesses all with sleep and quiet rest

Ave Maria, tis the hour of night

Like to an Indian Maiden dressed in white

The winter-time is over love

Whitethorns begin to bud

And brown and green of freshness love

Enlivens all the wood

There’s white clouds got agen the sun

One daisy open in the green

The primrose shows its sulphur bud

Just where the hazel stulps are seen

And ere the April time is out

Along the riding’s gravel walk

The bedlam’s primrose blooms about

Wi’ twenty blossoms on a stalk

How happy seems the drop of dew

That nestles in the daisey’s eye

How blest the cloud seems in the blue

That near the sun appears to lie

How happy does thy shadows seem

That stretches o’er the morning grass

They seems to walk as in a dream

I know their shadows as they pass . . .

(John Clare