Ha Jin – I Sing Of An Old Land

Ha Jin (February 21, 1956 -)

I sing of an old land
where the gods have taken shelter underground,
where the human idols eat human sacrifice,
where hatred runs the business of philanthropy,
where blazing dragons eclipse the wronged ghosts,
where silence and smiles are the trace of wisdom,
where words imitate spears and swords,
where truth is always a bloody legend.
 
I speak of the old land not
out of love or wonderment.
Like my ancestors who were scattered into the smoky winds,
who scrambled to leave home
or rushed towards the approaching enemies,
I join those who fled and returned,
          who disappeared in other lands
bearing no hope but persistence, no honor but the story,
          no fortune but parents and children,
singing a timeless curse,
a curse that has bound us together
and rooted us deep in the wreck
          of our homeland.
 
I touch the land at night—
My hands trace the map on the wall,
from mountains to villages and to rivers,
from plains to cities and to seashores.
I see the green fields of the South,
the dark soil and birch woods of the North,
and snow swirling in summer.
 
I dream of myself in that land,
not for happiness or harvest.
I dream of suffering together with my people,
of being understood and useful,
of being left alone and able to sleep,
of my children refusing my land
so they will not repeat my life,
of talking and walking with friends,
of completing the work and dying with ease.
 
I weep for the old land,
for its vast narrowness,
for its profound stupidity,
for its chaos and tenacity,
for its power to possess those of my kind
to devour us to nourish itself
to seize our hearts and throats
and mix our moans with songs—
 
songs of monstrous grandeur
and merciless devotion,
songs crazed by the cycle of that land.

Transformation Publications

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. —Jiddu Krishnamurti

For The Love Of Wisdom

The truest philosophy, is not to long for anything in particular, but to accept everything as it comes, and find out the reason of it coming. — Marie Corelli

The Poetry of Clouds

...If one looks long enough at almost anything, looks with absolute attention at a flower, a stone, the bark of a tree, grass, snow, a cloud, something like revelation takes place. — May Sarton

The Writings Of Tao Writer

The most we can do is to write — intelligently, creatively, evocatively — about what it is like living in the world at this time. — Oliver Sacks

Wise Poets

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses... We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. — John F. Kennedy