Obviously, the phonetic-signi?ers offer a great number of suggestive images for the poet, but the student of Chinese must be Warned that a phonetic-signi?c may be the equivalent of the false cognate of French or Spanish——a slippery character that can easily humiliate the unwary translator. Pound liked to claim that his Parisian artist friends could sight-read Chinese characters: we can only shudder to think of what Gaudier-Brzeska might have made of li ( ). It consists of a yak, an evil spirit or bogey, and three dots that represent the character for “water,” simplified to function as an element of a complex character. A wet yak? The evil bogey of the waters? Neither, since it’s not an ideograph, but rather a phonetic-signi?c—a weak one—pronounced “li” and having to do with water in that it means “drip.” Without a context that clearly calls for the interpretation of phonetic elements according to their meaning, such interpretation is likely to leave the translator looking drippy. But with a context—-where every possible signing element is being put to use to create a truly organic work of art—that may be another matter.