A Poem for the New Year




wooden horseIt's a busy time for many of us but I wanted to share with you a short poem to celebrate the New Year.  This is by the Song poet Su Shi who lived in the 10th century.  I'm not very familiar with his work (or with Song poetry more generally for that matter) but I thought this would be a fitting way to acknowledge the beginning of a new lunar year.  The reference to a snake in the first stanza makes me think that perhaps Su Shi wrote this poem at a moment much like the present -- as the Fire Snake has wriggled away and we welcome the Wooden Horse into our midst. 






Anticipation
Is building afresh
As the old year has
Run its course
Like a snake   
Half down the hole
Scales barely seen
Though try as we might
To grab its tail
It's to no avail as it
Slithers away

Tonight
With the children
Unyielding to sleep
Together we keep vigil
Through the hubbub and din
And a steady drum beat
While the morning cock
Has yet to sing
We sit and watch
The embers hiss and fall
Rousing ourselves
To see the Ploughman
Declining toward
The horizon

Of the heart’s concerns
And those nagging fears
About the twists and turns
In the coming year
Worried how things might differ
We must apply ourselves
With the utmost vigor
Night and day
And much like the children
Keep our hearts open 
And full of praise









欲知垂尽岁
有似赴壑蛇
修鳞半已没
去意谁能遮
况欲系其尾
虽勤知奈何
儿童强不睡
相守夜欢哗
晨鸡且勿唱
更鼓畏添挝
坐久灯烬落
起看北斗斜
明年岂无年
心事恐蹉跎
努力尽今夕
少年犹可夸












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Thanks and best wishes to all of you for a healthy and happy New Year, in the Tang Spirit --

Joe Lamport (formerly known as Lan Hua)
February 4, 2014
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