Monday, 28 April 2014

seX perpleX and gobsmaX

is for Xiaoshi

The Chinese, who else?  Only the Chinese, and perhaps the Mexicans, can come to the rescue when the most fearsome letter of all threatens that badge.  Go straight to them and don’t bother looking at other languages, certainly not English.  

I sometimes wonder why do the English alphabets even contain this scary but vestigial letter, when -cks and -z- are perfectly competent to carry out all its functions.  I guess sex spelt secks  just doesn't cut it, never the same oomph.  

Well, anytime X  gets to me with its limbs windmilling, I call the Chinese over for help, I am not taking that crossness. And the Chinese proffer me the following form, in their inimitable gentle-tinkly zen-cool Far Eastern way. Chinese poetry. And cuisine. The antidotes for all crossness.

Xiaoshi is a Chinese modern verse form, literally meaning “small poetry” (xiao – diminutive, tiny, small; shi – poetry, poem).  It combines within it unrelated, contrasting imagery, usually in a quatrain, presented in a minimalistic, clipped, almost disjointed language.

Here’s my attempt:

coffee smell like chandelier
hung in the room, and red-beige
leaf of early news bulletins;
the morning stands at the window.

Posted for the A-Z Challenge.


  1. Hello Nilanjana - it's good to meet you. I'm interested in prose and poetry. I haven't heard of xiaoshi verse before, and love to learn.
    Thank you for visiting me, and I hope you'll call again when we've crossed the finish line on the A-Z.

  2. I've never heard of xiaoshi before.
    Well, I always say, every day we learn something new.
    So thank you for the lesson.

    (I only made it to your place now, it's the eve of the last day of this exciting but crazy challenge!)
    Writer In Transit