Sarah Howe


I try to imagine you as a girl-

a street of four-storey plaster buildings,

carved wooden doors, weathered, almost shrines

(like in those postcards of old Hong Kong you loved)-

you, a child in bed, the neighbours always in

and out, a terrier dog, half-finished bowls

of rice, the ivory Mah Jong tablets

clacking, like joints, swift and mechanical,

shrill cries -ay-yah! fah!- late into the night.

My heart is bounded by a scallop shell-

This strange pilgrimage to home.


From Crossing from Guangdong by Sarah Howe


Sarah Howe is a British poet and academic. She was born in Hong Kong. This excerpt is from her first full-length poetry collection Loop of Jade, winner of the T. S. Eliot prize and the Sunday Times/ Peter Fraser and Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award.

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7 thoughts on “Sarah Howe

    1. I only know Manadarin so I can’t tell you, but it does sound like the kind of thing one hears in bad martial arts films. In my imagination I can hear tiles clacking and triumphant calls of ‘ ay-yah !fah!’, meaning ‘take that’.

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