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.”

Ugly Souls

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If God could whisper to us

If God could talk to us

If he could speak out loudly

What could he say?

 

What would he say

About our ugly souls?

Our uses and abuses

Of human souls

Of human bodies

 

We touch, we take, we lie

We force, we break, we die inside

We build and then destroy

We mock, we cry, we die inside

We hurt, we fight, we disregard.

 

Our human souls

Used to be…

Serene and kind

Now they are dark and blind

If God could talk to us

Would he say…

Wash your ugly souls

In fresh and cold mountain waters

In the salty, cleansing waters of the sea.

 

Nature and its purity

Are shaking slowly

Are collapsing wholly

Endangered with our fellow beings.

The cause and the effect of our ugly souls.

 

We punish, we hate, we ignore

We are wrecks, shadows

If we could hear God’s voice

Would we still die inside?

Ode to the strong

 

 

Tough as a white dove,

Tough as a wounded street dog,

Tough as an injured soldier on the battlefield,

Tough as a crawling baby,

Tough as a hunted deer,

Tough as an old, dying tree,

Tough as human-invaded nature,

Tough as a war refugee…

Cuz they are the resilient!

That’s how tough I wanna be!

 

As tough as the frail,

As tough as the gentle,

As tough as the weak,

As tough as the soft,

As tough as the poor

As tough as the lonely

As tough as the sick

As tough as the homeless…

Cuz they are the resilient!

That’s how tough I wanna be!