Wise poet, Su Shi

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During the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD), China experienced a flourishing period in arts, culture and poetry. The wise, multi-talented Su Shi, 蘇軾, (1037-1101 AD) was a poet, calligrapher, painter, writer and politician, who wrote many exquisite poems that deserve attention and close analysis. However, today I want to share with you a small excerpt from one of his articles, that contains the essence of Middle Ages Chinese wisdom on destiny and the infinite beauty of nature.

“In this universe everything has its rightful owner. If something does not belong to you then you shall not even have a bit of it. However, the fresh breeze over the rivers and the bright moon above the mountains are exceptions. If you can hear it, it is a sound for you. If you can see it, it is a sight for you. It never ends and it is never exhausted. It is the infinite treasure that nature has for both of us to enjoy.”

13 thoughts on “Wise poet, Su Shi

  1. He is my favorite Sung Dynasty poet and I have posted many of his poems on my blog but under his pen name: Su Tung-p’o. I actually keep a book of his poetry translated by Burton Watson on my desk and turn to it often. Thank you, though, for sharing that bit of philosophy of his.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned about him during my Chinese history course in university. I like his poems as well. However, I enjoy a bit more the poems of Li Qingzhao. This passage from one of Su Shi’s articles was a serendipity. I heard it translated into English by a Chinese lady in her podcast about myths and legends of China.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, she is China’s most famous female poet and deservedly so. Su Tung-p’o, though, speaks to me more than any of the others but there are so many great poets from both the Sung & Tang dynasties that it is hard to not be moved by them all.

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