Sunday, January 15, 2006

An Empty Purse

Though bitter, juniper berries are food
For immortals, and cirrus flushed with morning
Light. But people are common things,
These tangles of trouble my only life:

A frozen well each morning and no stove,
Cold nights without quilts … In fear
Of shame an empty purse brings, I hold
In mine this one coin I keep, peering in.

(Taken from The Selected Poems of Tu Fu,
Translated by David Hinton)


I am going to be unemployed soon.

The first time I was unemployed, it was for a period of 6 months. After completing my National Service and with no working experience it was extremely tough to get a job. I felt so useless, a good-for-nothing.

The second time was for a period of 3 months. Although by then I had a couple of years of working experience, I still found it hard to get a job. To be frank although the second time was shorter than the first time, but for some reasons I felt deeply depressed, even suicidal at times.

The third time was for a period of 7 months. I resigned after my operation in May. Although it was a minor operation I took about 2 months to recover. It was an unforgettable experience. And 5 months later, I tendered my resignation. Luckily for me, I was too busy preparing for my examination (October), new house (November) and wedding (May). No time to be depressed.

But this time I have only my blogs and my poetry forum to keep me occupied. I am going to be unemployed again soon.

(Updated on 5 April 2006)


dsnake1 said...

captures very well the hardships of the poet.

the chinese original must be awesome.

i like the contemporary style the translation is written. :)

Alson Teo said...

x2. :)

I have no time to write the afterthought, will be working non-stop till Chinese New Year.

TwistedNoggin said...

Lovely... wish I could read it in the original language and understand.

Fred said...

Very nice.

Fred said...

Hey Alson -- just checking in to say hi.

Gilbert Koh said...

Hey Alson ... given up on blogging?

Alson Teo said...

Thanks Fred,

I hope to be back in action next month. Really miss you guys!

Alson Teo said...

Hello Gilbert,

Nope. Just going through some lows in my life. Should be back in action soon.

I hope. :)

Gilbert Koh said...

Just read your update, Alson. Oh dear. You take care now, and good luck on the job hunt.

Amy said...

That's a wonderful poem you chose; I'm sure the "empty purse" imagery is hitting you a little hard, since you're going to be unemployed. I wish you all sorts of good luck, and I hope things work out well for you!

Alson Teo said...

Thanks for the concern guys.

Hope to start working again in June – July 2006. :)