Wednesday, May 6, 2015


by Po Chu-I
Translated by David Hinton

Finally, after almost forty years of life,
I have a girl. We named her Golden-Bells,
and its been a year since she was born.
Saying nothing, she studies sitting now,
but it seems I'm no sage-master at heart.
I can't get free of this trifling affection:
I know it's only a tangle of appearance,
but however empty, it's bliss to see her.
I'll worry about her dying. Spared that,
I'll worry about finding a good husband.
All those plans to find a mountain home:
I guess they'll wait another fifteen years.
Generally acclaimed as one of China's greatest poets, Po Ch-i (772-846 C.E.) practiced a poetry of everyday human concerns and clear plain-spoken language. His poems are famous for its spiritual depths and reflect both his life-long devotion to Taoist and Ch'an (Zen) Buddhist practice.
This simple poem reflects the mindset of parents. All parents constantly worry about their children, irrespective of their age and gender, and I was pleasantly surprised to note this unease and anxiety, steeped in love, beautifully reflected in this ancient poem of Po Chu-I .
In real life, his only daughter later passed away at the age of three , ominously manifesting his worries.

No comments:

Post a Comment