Saturday, January 12, 2013

Su Tung-Po On New Year's Eve

On New Year's Eve, I should go home early,
But am by official duties detained.
With tears in my eyes I hold my brush,
And feel sorry for those in chains.
The poor are trying to make a living,
But fall into the clutches of the law.
I, too, cling to an official job,
And carry on against my wish for rest.
What difference is there between myself
And those more ignorant than I?
Who can set them free for the time being?
Silently I bow my head in shame.

-- Su Tung-Po, Chinese poet, 1036-1101,
quoted by R. G. H. Siu in The Tao Of Science.

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