The more things change…

Poetry.  At times, I still fear it;  there’s such a great deal of it that just seems to zoom over my too-literal head;  I feel I’m missing too much to actually appreciate it.

Then, I read something like this, and my emotions just get caught up with a resonance with the author and it makes me…  I don’t know.  Makes me feel like I could love being the author’s friend, if we share thoughts like that:

An Excuse for not Returning the Visit of a Friend

Do not be offended because
I am slow to go out. You know
Me too well for that. On my lap
I hold my little girl. At my
Knees stands my handsome little son.
One has just begun to talk.
The other chatters without
Stopping. They hang on my clothes
And follow my every step.
I can’t get any further
Than the door. I am afraid
I will never make it to your house.

Here’s the best part:  It was written about a thousand years ago.  A thousand years.  By a Chinese man.  Mei Yao-Ch’en (1002-1060).  The translation is by Kenneth Roxroth.  I found it on the blog of Unrelaxed Dad, who, with this post, reminds me why I so very often love reading his writings.

I did some Googling of Mei Yao-Ch’en, and came up with a number of beautiful poems, many of them heartbreaking, as they deal with the death of his first wife and at least two of his children.  Poetry that makes one gasp and feel the reality of deep sorrow, and shake one’s head and say, “There but for the grace of God go I…”  That’s powerful.

On the Death of a New Born Child

The flowers in bud on the trees
Are pure like this dead child.
The East wind will not let them last.
It will blow them into blossom,
And at last into the earth.
It is the same with this beautiful life
Which was so dear to me.
While his mother is weeping tears of blood
Her breasts are still filling with milk.

You can read more, here.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on October 31, 2008, in Introspective Musings. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I like both of those, but that last really hit me hard. When a friend’s baby died she said the hardest part was that she still had milk and no baby.

  2. Thanks for the nod! That second poem is so poignant.

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