Posted by: okathleen | February 4, 2009

Does poetry do it for you?

‘Twixt you and me

There’s too much emotion.

That’s the reason why

There’s such a commotion!

Take a lump of clay,

Wet it, pat it,

And make an image of me,

And an image of you.

Then smash them, crash them,

And add a little water.

Break them and re-make them,

Into an image of you,

And an image of me.

Then in my clay, there’s a little of you.

And in your clay, there’s a little of me.

And nothing ever shall us sever;

Living, we’ll sleep in the same quilt,

And dead, we’ll be buried together.


Madame Kuan (c 1280) attempts to lure her husband from his mistress with poetry. Does she succeed?

But first to go off at a complete tangent. I have been writing my academic tomes using Georgia as a favoured font. According to legend, or rather a potentially dubious study, it’s easier to read, and essays achieve 10% higher marks written this way. My friend Pamela ( has this quiz which will tell you what font you are, and what it means about you:

Back to Madame Kuan and her husband Chao Mengfu.

Plus ca change.

A mid life crisis hits and Chao Mengfu considers taking a mistress. Madame Kuan is determined this will not happen. Her poem about water and clay touched his heart and changed his mind. Life must have been a little less complicated 800 years ago. Or maybe just more romantic.

‘Woman is water and man is clay, and water permeates and moulds the clay, and the clay holds the water and gives it substance, in which water moves and lives and has its full being.’

Mmm, this is in danger of turning into scissors/paper/rock.

Does water beat clay? Not according to Yutang, woman is completed only in the presence of man.

Although I do like the idea that woman moulds man:



  1. Kathleen, I had no idea that working in Georgia was such a positive thing! I decided to start when I realized I liked the font in the New York Times online. Reading it made me feel smart, slightly sophisticated and elite (sad, I know).

    But now I can use it to increase my self esteem, knowing I will receive more compliments. 🙂

  2. great post kat! i would go on to say after reading this post, that you are quite able to “linking the aesthetical aspect of your work to the practical…”

  3. Good you I too am a fan of Cheru Jackson

  4. I am appalled to find that I am Times New Roman. I wanted to be Gill Sans, or at least Palatino Linotype. Oh well. I believe that Chao responded to the implicit threat in the words
    ‘And dead, we’ll be buried together.’ rather than to the poetry: but then all the best poetry contains an implied threat……

  5. my wife is pregnant!

    • Lawman: time for a baby blog?
      Betty: I too was appalled, my inner snob outed to the ether.
      But there must be some pink and fluffy poetry….?

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