Sunday, March 08, 2015

In winter's grip

Snowed in, I decided to emulate my true culture heroes, the scholar-poets of traditional China who, in their humble hermitages, loved nothing more than to study with the seasons winging past. Study the classics, above all. I decided not to focus on the traditional favorites of the Tang dynasty, those that everyone knows or should know: Li Bo, Dufu, and Wang Wei. They are truly great ones. Nor would I read, once again, the 305 poems of Confucius' Book of Songs.
Instead I prefer to focus on the era in between: the writers of the Han and Six Dynasties. There is much of enduring interest there: longing and separation, observations of nature, the transience of earthly ambitions, subtle intimations of spirituality.

If only my Chinese would get better! But I do what I can with English and French.