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A Gift From China

I received a gift, a box of coloured pencils

made in China, their finely

sharpened points all lined up

like rainbowed ballerinas

three sultry violets, five different moods of blue

reds, greens and yellows, forty-eight in all

centuries of Chinese tradition captured in a simple

cardboard pack; entranced I hold them, one

by one and rub them gently on the paper


Frozen into a moment of beauty

a Chinese child emerges, faint at first,

then taking breathless form

red painted lips, white frozen leg,

rainbow skirt finely etched around her hips


She skates down rainbows laughing

delighted between the red strips

and the purple ones

one foot hissing through sparkling ice

the other pointing behind, stiff and delicate

frozen into a moment of beauty


Perhaps some Beijing worker

dreaming of a rest-day in the park

packed her in there by mistake

an unintended New Year gift

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© Johnmichael Simon



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