Ancient Chinese Poetry

No really, this post is actually going to be about ancient Chinese poetry.  I couldn’t help passing this little gem along from the liberal U.S. blog Washington Monthly:

UPDATE: This post obviously suffers from a lack of Bush bashing, so let’s add some! Geoff Waters emails to tell me that there is a genuine Chinese poem by the famous 11th century poet and government official Su Shi (a/k/a Su Dongpo) that could have been written by George H.W. Bush:

Wishes For My Son

Everyone hopes their children will be brilliant;
But I am too smart and my whole career has suffered.
So I hope you, my son, grow up dumb and simple,
And avoiding all my problems, become the Prime Minister.

Now, I wouldn’t leave Joysters with just quoting from someone else’s post.  No, there has to be original German Joys product in this post.  So here it is — more delightful short Chinese poems.  These come from a collection of Chinese letter seals in the Ashomlean Museum in Oxford, which I visited in June.  The first is from an 18th-century letter seal:

A byway is suitable to plant grass

The lovely room is better brightened with flowers.

By writing poetry and drinking wine during his whole life

Surely a man will meet the Immortals.

— Wang Po (647-675).

And, my very favorite saying, from 19th-century soapstone seal: "The way of the world is steep and rugged and one should seal one’s letters." 

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