Su Tung Po Shouts Across a Thousand Years

Every morning, a friend calls me, or I call him, with a poem to start the day. The other day, it was this by Su Tung Po:

Faint wind rustles reeds and cattails;
I open the hatch, expecting rain — moon floods the lake.
Boatmen and water birds dream the same dream;
a big fish splashes off like a frightened fox.
It’s late — men and creatures forget each other
while my shadow and I amuse ourselves alone.
Dark tides creep over the flats —I pity the cold mud-worms;
the setting moon, caught in a willow, lights a dangling spider.
Life passes swiftly, hedged by sorrow;
how long before you’ve lost it — a scene like this?
Cocks crow, bells ring, a hundred birds scatter;
drums pound from the bow, shout answers shout.

 

My friend sighed and said: Our dear friend talking to us from long ago.

Su Tung Po, who lived in the eleventh century, has become like a friend. His poems resonate deeply with our own lives more than a thousand years later.

 

Even across a thousand years…

…shout answers shout.

 

 

On a Boat, Awake at Night (1079) from Selected Poems of Su Tung Po, an enduring gift:

 

Vintage photo via China Underground

2 Responses to Su Tung Po Shouts Across a Thousand Years

  1. Samuel P. Marchbanks, LLD 05.02.2018 at 3:39pm #

    Made me weep.

  2. Samuel P. Marchbanks, LLD 05.02.2018 at 3:39pm #

    Brought tears to my eyes.

Leave A Comment

subscribing = loving

If the Improvised Life is a source of creativity, inspiration, ideas and change in your daily life, please consider becoming a Friend with Benefits. A little bit goes a long way towards helping us publish fresh AD-FREE content each day.