Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Su Tung-p'o -- On Crowning a Tranquil Life

Families, when a child is born
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister.

Su Tung-p'o (1036-1101 AD)

(“On the Birth of his Son”, tr. by Arthur Waley, 170 Chinese Poems, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1919)


Snafu said...

An excellent find!!

Deogolwulf said...

Yes, I think he sums it up rather nicely.

dearieme said...

I have a friend who suspects that W fakes being stupid (which he finds easy, being rather inarticulate anyway). I argue that launching the Iraq war is consistent with his being a foolish fellow. She says that foolish is not the same as stupid. Have you got any Chinese wisdom on that distinction, please?