|[a] Stone RF|
|[b] Chiseled RF|
Another piece of Heaven gone to Hell
The words we spoke in anger just tore my world apart
And I sat there feeling sorry for myself
Then that old man sat down beside me and looked me in the eye
And he said, "Son, I know what you’re going through"
You ought to get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars
That you got some one to go home to
Till you’ve lived through the stories that still living in me
You don’t know about sadness till you've faced life alone
You don’t know about lonely till it's chiseled in stone
So, I brought these pretty flowers hoping you would understand
Sometimes a man is such a fool
Those golden words of wisdom from the heart of that old man
Showed me I ain’t nothing without you
An interesting array of possibilities abound in the Chinese poetic tradition. A one-to-one correspondence would probably not be possible, in any case, but various strains of the message can be found throughout the pages of Tang dynasty poetry and Song dynasty lyrics. I have chosen one with only a glimpse of the country theme. It is a lyric written by one of the greatest statesmen in Chinese history, and one about whom I have written already on Round and Square. It addresses loss in a very different way from the lines above, but in a way that provides an exquisite juxtaposition of themes.
Plum Blossoms on Solitary Hill
Wang Anshi (1021-1085)
|[c] Solitary RF|
these plum blossoms on Solitary Hill?
Halfway between flowering and fading
in the midst of thorns!
A fairest woman
leaning against briers and trees;
A despondent statesman
abiding in the weeds.
Stark straight, their lone loveliness
carries the winter sun;
still, soundless, their fragrance form afar
trails the wild wind.
Too late for transplanting,
their roots grow old;
They glance back at the Imperial Park,
their colors drained.
 Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo, Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976), 337.
Liu, Wu-chi and Irving Yucheng Lo. Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976.
Sunday, September 4th
Two Doors Down