Han Shan speaks again

When I see a fellow abusing others,
I think of a man with a basketful of water.
As fast as he can, he runs with it home,
But when he gets there, what’s left in the basket?
When I see a man being abused by others,
I think of the leek growing in the garden.
Day after day men pull off the leaves,
But the heart it was born with stays the same.

translated by Burton Watson

8 thoughts on “Han Shan speaks again

  1. It is certainly beautiful. There are layers of truth here: it might simply be true that the writer held these ideas; or it could be that he wished them to be true; then there is whether the readers hold that belief, or share that wish. I hope I do.
    What a lot this poem gives us to think about! Very well worth the posting Leonard!

  2. The water image is so strong. Sometimes we need to think slowly instead of just moving through everything with brevity. Hope you’re having a nice Sunday!

  3. It’s a day of reading/writing and white wine. Will talk with friends in the US later and there’s music: Blood, Sweat, & Tears, Bob Seger, The Stones all serenading me now. Couldn’t be better. Or maybe it could, but it will do. Hope yours is fine, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.