Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Haiku 2012

beneath the wrappings,
tinsel, and a turkey bone
Christ can still be found

... and for the younger generation ...

beneath the wrappings,
tinsel, and a turkey bone
Christ can still be phoned

There is a certain phonetic similarity in the endings.
Christmas Greetings to All ... Enjoy special time with family and friends.

Richard Scutter Christmas 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nativity - James McAuley

The thin distraction of a spider's web
collects the clear cold drops of night.
Seeds falling on the water spread
a rippling target for the light.

The rumour in the ear now murmurs less,
the snail draws in its tender horn,
the heart becomes a bare attentiveness,
and in that bareness light is born.

James McAuley
A spider's web is thin and it does distract ... usually distracting insects rather than water ... but at night time in the dark it picks up droplets of moisture ... and of course these are most attractive when sunlight falls on them in the early morning ... but it is night time so we can not see the web as it picks up the drops ... just as we can not see any seeds that happen to fall on any water that is around ... they are a target for the light when it comes ... a moving target, especially if the water is a fast flowing stream ... but these are all the happenings in the night unseen.

Why the choice of seeds instead of say leaves?

The ear takes precedent at night for sight is meaningless ... the sounds that signify the coming dawn are indications of the end of night ... these sounds diminish - murmur less ... and any snails that happen to be sliding around now must draw in their horns ... and then there is that instant of attentiveness by the heart ... perhaps the heart of life in nature ... expectant, waiting for the first rays of light to break ... and light is born

... but why is the birth of light ... which happens on a daily basis ... equated to nativity - the royal birth of Christ which happened many years ago?

Well it is up to you to explore this connection and give your thoughts. Christ and light an interesting subject for discussion.

Incidently, all objects contain light on the electromagnetic spectrum (I think this is right, depending on temperature) ... and infra-red cameras are used to take images at nightime of otherwise unseen matter.

James McAuley was a stong catholic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas and the virgin birth

Christmas is fast approaching. Of course it is a time for family, giving, and celebration but perhaps for some too it is also a time to reflect on the incarnation and the implications of this one fact on mankind. It raises the question of a virgin birth - its importance in the way we view the universe - and fundamentally whether we believe it as a concrete fact in the history of procreation.

… but first a light-hearted poem on that apple issue and what it was really like before children arrived ...

A Mother-In-Law Problem

it is not a well-known fact
that Eve won the Miss Universe Contest
three years running!

it was planned out from the beginning
the whole thing ribbed from above
stage-managed to perfection

nobody said she was one in a million
so she always took top honours
the decision a one-off personal affair
how could Adam vote for another
for he had magnetic affinity for dark hair
and he couldn't vote for an unseen blonde

but the fourth year Adam simply had to abstain
it was all Eve's doing in the cookery department
an unwise decision to make apple pie
for how could she emulate her Mother-in-law
when the recipe wasn't God-given,
perhaps she just thought she could do better!

a bit unfair on poor old Adam though -
for he never ever looked at another woman
and always treated her as his very own body

so now we're all eating Eve's humble pie
and whether we realize we're married or not
we can blame the Mother-in-law for dictating our lot

Richard Scutter 7 May 2010
Original sin – perhaps just a simple mother-in-law problem!
On the virgin birth

Evolution theory and the work of Darwin have given an acceptable understanding on the origin and development of species. There would be few today that would believe in a God that acts in such a dramatic obvious way as to remove a rib overnight and startle you with a new partner for your bed, and to boot one without clothes!
So how does a virgin birth measure up in the eyes of the thinking person? Well it wouldn’t happen again without making the news!

Consider the implications on Christian thought if it is discovered that Jesus in fact had normal origins. Would God be a lesser God in not understanding life from the perspective of human existence? Would our own personal relationship with God be any different? Would God still exist as that on-going power to perfect life?

There are many in the world with no understanding or acceptance of the virgin birth - is God a lesser influence in their lives?

It is worth noting that such thoughts were far from the mind of the early Christian thinkers. Their interest in Christ’s person was not philosophical and speculative, but religious and evangelical. They speak of Christ, not as a metaphysical problem, but as a divine Saviour; and all they say about His person is prompted by their desire to glorify him through exhibiting his work and vindicating His centrality in the redemptive purpose of God. They never attempt to dissect the mystery of his person; it is enough for them to proclaim the incarnation as a fact, one of the sequences of mighty works where God has wrought salvation.
The exclusiveness of this evangelical interest throws light on the otherwise puzzling fact that the New Testament nowhere reflects on the virgin birth as witnessed to the conjunction of deity and manhood in His person - a line of thought much canvassed in later theology. This silence need not mean that any of the New Testament writers were ignorant of the virgin birth, as some have supposed. It is sufficiently explained by the fact that the New Testament interest is focused elsewhere, upon His relation to the saving purposes of God (see the footnote below for reference to this text.)
So as Christmas approaches perhaps there is time to think on implications of this one fact on the human condition - and on our own life.


The New Bible Dictionary (Incarnation: Standpoint of the New Testament Writers) Inter-Varsity Press ISBN 0 85110 608 0

My God is too small not to believe in this one great all defining miracle.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent Calendar - Rowan Williams

 Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like the frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

Rowan Williams

My interpretation ...

The title ... ADVENT CALENDAR ... the reader may at first think this is to do with Christmas and the Christian Calendar ... but what is the most important event in Christianity ... the most important event for one like Rowan Williams who reveres the Christian philosophy and Christianity with such passion? ...... this must be the second coming of Christ.

What will this second coming be like in comparison with the sorry state of the world?

The first 3 Stanzas ...

consider the attributes of a second coming in relation to the normal calendar which we take as inevitable ... i.e. that winter follows Autumn ...

look at the first lines of each of these stanzas ... gently like a fall of a leaf like a deep frost ... at the end of the day like night ... and this will be unexpected

the beautiful wording and metaphors in each of these stanzas mirror against the state of the corrupt and fallen world so absolutely alien to Christ ... how can words be used to compare the fallen world experiencing perfection and beauty ... Rowan finds some magic words ... for example soft shroud's folding / sword-set beauty / star-snowed fields of sky

He will come when he is needed ... when the world hungers and thirsts for his very presence ...

The last stanza brings a dramatic conclusion ...

... he will come ... he will come ... he will come ... this is inevitable just as one day follows the next ... he will come in pain and crying out ... like a pregnancy ... Christ will return (be born) ... like a new born baby ... and the world will breathe delight from the heavens ... the joy of mother and baby (something only a mother can know) ... and again Christmas approaches.

Thought ... perhaps he comes with every child birth.
Footnote ... Rowan Williams ends his term as archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Anointing Ann Anonymous

Anointing Ann Anonymous

when she was a child
and she was quite sure
that no one was looking
she picked up a stick
to scratch in concrete
                                 ‘I was here’

each day
as she walked to school
she would see her work
and laugh to herself
no one would know it was her

in her teenager years
she had that teenage crush
and melting against his name
cleared the dust on his car
with words that only she could write
      ‘I love you’

She thought he really knew
but she would never tell,
in later years
when thinking about him
she would laugh inside
with a little embarrassment

she had a long and ordinary life
a husband, children
and memories to drown
and if she could paint the sky
these would be her words
     ‘life is beautiful’
before she died
and with a knowing smile
she left these words
especially for you …

     ‘I was here
      I love you
      life is beautiful’
© Ann Anonymous

Richard Scutter 7 May 2011

The following poem was included in the Yass Valley Writers anthology ... Voices From the Valley.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Yass Valley Writers - Anthology - Book Launch

The Yass Valley Writers launch their third anthology on Thursday 29 November at Yass, a country town not far from Canberra on the way to Melbourne.

The anthology covers both prose and poems and there are 16 contributors to this work ...

Jane Baker, Nola Bindon, Val Brown, Robin Butt, Robyn Cadwallader, Katherin Cameron, Glenys Ferguson, Debra Glassford, Julie Meadows, Liz Murphy, Jane Nauta, Greg Piko, Richard Scutter, Agnes Skillin, Robyn Sykes, and Alan Watts.

... of note - one of the contributers, Agnes Skillin, will be 99 years old on the day of the launch. A day for a double celebration.

Some of the writers are well versed with many published pieces others are not so well known but none the less they exhibit a high standard of work and have taken great pride in producing material for this anthology.

Jane Baker is the co-ordinator of the group - Here is a link to one of her poems

I was privileged to be invited to contribute to the book. Here is a link to one of my poems.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Trains - Judith Wright - Analysis

The Trains

Tunnelling through the night, the trains pass
in a splendour of power, with a sound like thunder
shaking the orchards, waking
the young from a dream, scattering like glass

the old mens' sleep, laying
a black trail over the still bloom of the orchards;
the trains go north with guns.
Strange primitive piece of flesh, the heart laid quiet

hearing their cry pierce through its thin-walled cave
recalls the forgotten tiger,
and leaps awake in its old panic riot;
and how shall mind be sober,

since blood's red thread still binds us fast in history?
Tiger, you walk through all our past and future,
troubling the children's sleep'; laying
a reeking trail across our dreams of orchards.

Racing on iron errands, the trains go by,
and over the white acres of our orchards
hurl their wild summoning cry, their animal cry....
the trains go north with guns.

Judith Wright

from The Moving Image - 1946 (Collected Poems)

Written during the War in the Pacific this is the perennial telling poem on the nature of man responding emotionally ... history repeating and there is no escape to the primitive nature that defies rational thought ... blood's red thread still binds us fast in history ... will we ever tame that tiger ... and the brilliant contrast with the spring blossom.

 Notes ...

The first stanza sets the scene. It is black night and ‘tunnelling' becomes such perfect choice in track with the dark-mind-set of man referenced by unthinking emotive response in the next stanza.

When I first read this stanza I immediately recalled a scene in South Africa from 1967. I was travelling by car with another student from Jo'burg to the Kruger National Park. We took a steep side-track to the bottom valley to stay in 'ronde-hut' type accommodation. All through the night goods-trains sounded as they disappeared into a tunnel high on the escarpment. These apparent unattended trains were quite eerie and they literally continually disturbed the peace.

Look at the way the old man's sleep is disturbed compared to the young ... scattering like glass ... old men who have perhaps known war and do not want their current peace disturbed ... a fragile peace, only too aware of the pain of war ... then suddenly shattered again ... hard to recover broken glass - hard to rebuild peace, destroy hate.

The white apple-blossom in bright contrast and reminded me of the old road into Sydney before the motorway when you had to drive through Picton and the road paralleled the orchards.

Well, we all know about the ‘Tiger' and the nature of man and an unthinking response to situations ... racing on iron errands ... an intractable mind-set ... against the background of unease ... the mother views the sleeping child ... war threatens the dreams for the next generation ... and the innocent again suffer ...
... but today there has been a ceasefire between Gaza and Israel and the animal-tiger within is subjected to a little discipline.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

As I was climbing up the stair - Analysis

As I was climbing up the stair

As I was climbing up the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there;
He wasn’t there again today:
Oh how I wish he’d go away!

This poem was part of my childhood experience of poetry. Not that I particularly regarded this as a poem. My father would occasionally say these words. As a child we thought it ridiculous and a little silly, a little amusing. How can anyone see something that isn’t there – it’s just not possible. Perhaps children tend to always see things on face value.

As I was climbing up the stair

We used to go up the stairs to go to bed. Climbing suggest a struggle and difficulty. Of course quite often we were made to go to bed when we didn’t want to go. Our bedrooms were somewhat a little scary too being isolated from the rest of the house and at times the place of nightmares.

These words could mean something entirely different to face value.  For instance they could be saying as the struggle of life unfolds.

I met a man who wasn’t there;

How can you meet someone that isn’t there? The answer could be that the person is not there to everyone but you – the person created by you in your mind.

Another alternative is that the person was there and true to everybody – but you, for some unknown reason, are unwilling to recognise the existence. A beggar in the street could fall into such a category.

He wasn’t there again today:

This imagined or real man is not an isolated incident. This line gives an on-going flavour to the situation. Is it a man or does the man represent something else which is feared?

Oh how I wish he’d go away!

There is something amusing about this line when we take the situation as silly and on face value. If we give different interpretation then it is a clear desire not to have this ‘man’ around – whether it is avoiding a beggar in the street or something much more sinister carried around with the person preventing, limiting or hindering the life of the person.

Perhaps the stanza is a lesson in facing up to reality … any thoughts?

It is an interesting exercise to create your own ‘silly’ words. Here is a variation on the above …

As I was climbing up the stair

As I was climbing up the stair
I met a lady who wasn’t there;
She wasn’t there again today:
Oh I’m so glad she’s here to stay!

I’ll leave it to the reader to give thought on the nature of this person and the relationship.

And here is a new stanza in similar vein …  

The yellow flower

The yellow flower caught my eye
with petals bright and gold against the sky
but how I wished it wasn’t true
that all its colour was so blue!

Again I’ll leave it to the reader to interpret.

Perhaps it is easier for a yellow flower to be blue? – but I give no more a clue.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Behind common words and nursery rhymes

All may not be what it might seem
Milk often masquerades as cream

Behind common words there is often deeper meaning. Never is this more evident in the origin and meaning behind some of the most common nursery rhymes.

Consider Mary, Mary ..

The following text was taken from the Internet Site …

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row
The Mary in this verse, the scholarly books read, refers to Mary Tudor: Queen Mary I of England (b 1516). For those not completely up to speed on their Tudor history, Mary was the only surviving child born to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Henry, ever the SNAG, became impatient with his lack of male heir and decided that he’d like the marriage annulled so that he could try and produce the next King with another woman (he, of course, had his eye on Anne Boleyn).

At that time, England was a Catholic country and required the permission of the Pope for any marriage to be deemed invalid. Pope Julius II – by all reports, a rather fearsome bloke – denied Henry this request, which royally upset the King and set in place the events that would lead to England breaking away from Rome, and the formation of the Church of England.

Henry VIII died in 1547, and the monarchy was passed to Mary (after a brief stint with her rather sickly half-brother, Edward VII, who died when he was 15). Mary, no doubt a little miffed at Henry’s treatment of her mother, remained loyal to Catholicism throughout her years in exile, and was intent on restoring England to this faith. But the clergy and nobleman weren’t too pleased with yet another change, and proclaimed that Protestantism (Church of England) was the rightful religion of England, and that Mary could go jump in a lake.

Mary got mad – indeed, she got very mad – and passed legislation that would punish anyone judged guilty of heresy against the Catholic faith in the most grisly of ways (Hint: her nickname was Bloody Mary).

It is at this gruesome point that we go back to the nursery rhyme. The garden refers not to a lovely England cottage overcome with bloom, but rather to the cemeteries that were becomingly increasingly full of Mary’s victims. The silver bells and cockle shells refer to her  favoured instruments of torture – the former being thumb screws, and the latter being screws that are places on…umm…other parts of the male anatomy. Finally, the ‘maids all in a row’ is a short-hand reference to the guillotine (nicknamed ‘The Maiden’), which Mary also didn’t seem to mind using on her enemies.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chinese Sybolism

Chinese (and Eastern) Symbolism … is very different from the West … this must be considered in any understanding of text (whether or not poetic) …

English poetry has developed over hundreds of years, certain symbolic meanings have attached themselves to such things as colours, places, times, and animals …the same can be said for Chinese poetry …

Here are some examples where there are clear differences in association …

In English poetry a rose would identify with beauty and woman … the equivalent flower in Chinese imagery would be the magnolia, in China a dove represents fidelity but in English poetry (and art) a dog is more appropriate …

More examples of Chinese Symbols and there meaning …

Courage and Bravery

Pine TreesLongevity, Steadfastness, and Self-Discipline



TortoiseLongevity & Immortality

GooseMarried Bliss


CicadaImmortality, Life after Death


CraneLongevity. A Pair of Cranes symbolizes "Long Marriage", as Cranes mate for life

DragonMale Vigor and Fertility, also the symbol for The Emperor …

… and more on the Dragon … as this is perhaps one of the most well know of Chinese symbols …

Ancient Chinese Dragons are ultimate symbols of cosmic Chi (energy). It is said to be the most potent symbol of good fortune in the Chinese pantheon of symbols. As one of the four creatures of the world's directions, the Dragon stands for new beginnings. The Dragon also has the power to release water to parched lands, and which in turn stands for abundance & relief. Continued success, high achievement, and prosperity are also listed among the Dragon's arsenal of good qualities, which rank it one of the most popular of Asian signs.
(Website link ...

Symbolism is important in poetry … it represents something else, either by association or by resemblance. It represents a deeper meaning than the words themselves … figurative meaning compared to literal meaning …

Example 1 … Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ … here is the first line … Two roads converged in a yellow wood,
In this poem the two roads are far more than two roads …representing a decision … in this case a clear choice of two … there is a coming together representing the closeness of the decision … but a decision must be made … … for those that know the poem the road not taken will be remembered reflecting on what would it have been like to have taken the alternative.

Example 2 … We could speak of depression as a black dog …black has obvious association with negativity … but why is a dog more appropriate than, say, a cat?

Footnote …Of course any poet can develop his or her own personal symbolism.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Fun-Runners

We Fun-Runners 1
Were we excited!
Easter egg anticipation
a brisk Canberra in early morning chatter  
bodies primed with no loose matter
waiting for execution
Were we excited!
Did we run!
swallowing the track with each disappearing second
striding passed our compatriots with a contemptible smile
to shatter the line in champion style
achieving PBs far more than we reckoned
Did we run!
Did we celebrate!
hugging and jumping and fooling around
tears,  laughter – ‘more bubbles please!’
fine food and drink sank down to our knees
then that slow- low morning-after moan
Did we celebrate! - yes we did!
Richard Scutter 15 October 2012

1 ... Based on using the same poetry scheme as Thomas Hardy in his poem We Field-Women ( line 1=line 6 then abba with an extension in the last line of the final stanza). 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sylvia Plath and Balloons - Analysis

Today is an appropriate day to remember Sylvia Plath. This one line from SP is a personal favourite – Love set you going like a fat gold watch – written in relation to the her first born Frieda (currently the only member of the immediate family still alive) … love, birth, life … all inextricably linked … love set SP going 80 years ago today … applying her words on her birthday.

SP lived in a cloud of mental instability … a question - is the love that actually set SP going related to any spiritual dimension … is that love alive and of influence … and was there such a thing as providence in her life?  Where providence equals the wisdom, care, and guidance believed to be provided by God.

As well as poems SP wrote short some stories and ‘The Bell Jar’.

Consider the title short story from ‘Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams’ … dealing with that primal emotion fear … from the last lines of this story … 

At the moment when I think I am most lost the face of Jonny Panic appears in a nimbus of arc lights on the ceiling overhead. I am shaken like a leaf in the teeth of glory. His beard is lightning. Lightning is in his eye. His Word charges and illuminates the universe.

The air crackles with his blue-tongued lightning-haloed angels. His love is the twenty-storey leap, the rope at the throat, the knife at the heart.

He forgets not his own.

Note that ‘Word’ starts with a capital and the reverse order of the words ‘forget not’… they give importance and have a religious association … perhaps Johnny Panic takes on the face of God and providence? 

It is ‘mental health week’ in Australia … mental illness is a serious concern and more prevalent than widely realised … if you reach that point in depression … that moment when you are most lost I hope you will find a certain light in the darkness from that love that set you first going and is eternal whether seen or unseen.

To end on a positive … here is SP’s poem Balloons … balloons are always associated with happiness, birthdays, and festive occasions … it was one of her last poems written in the month she died. I have included my comments …


Since Christmas they have lived with us,
Guileless and clear,
Oval soul-animals,
Taking up half the space,
Moving and rubbing on the silk

I like the choice of words – Guileless – without deceit, soul-animals … if they are to be animals because of their positive association then they are indeed soul-animals … more to women than men or am I being sexist. The fact that Christmas balloons are hanging around in February (if you forgive the pun) is interesting … Ted Hughes does say that SP is good at contemplating objects but not re-organising.

Invisible air drifts,
Giving a shriek and pop
When attacked, then scooting to rest, barely trembling.
Yellow cathead, blue fish ----
Such queer moons we live with

Instead of dead furniture!
Straw mats, white walls

When balloons move around they do contain invisible air … an emphasis on an unusual aspect. When attacked and popped they do scoot to rest with a little tremble leaving some interesting shapes perhaps ... cathead and fish in shrivelled rubber … and in definite colour

Moons come and go and just as the balloons have probably been drifting around her flat. She finds them more interesting because of their movement … and the colours in contrast to her drab furniture.

And these traveling
Globes of thin air, red, green,

The heart like wishes or free
Peacocks blessing
Old ground with a feather
Beaten in starry metals.

As well as moons they are of course globes of thin air in that they are quite fragile … and they do give soul food to the viewer like the forerunner for something nice … just as a wish or finding a peacock’s feather … ‘starry metals’ … the contrast between the much trodden metallic ground with the feather a symbolic star

Your small

Brother is making
His balloon squeak like a cat.
Seeming to see
A funny pink world he might eat on the other side of it,
He bites,

Then sits
Back, fat jug
Contemplating a world clear as water.
A red
Shred in his little fist.

Sylvia Plath  Feburary 1963

SP is talking to Freida regarding her brother Nicholas. Nicholas is only interested in testing everything with his mouth … what he can see and understand of the balloon is unknown … but enough to command his attention … note the ‘seemingly’ world seen through the balloon. He is described as a fat jug … babies tend to have a certain fat look and a jug is a receptacle for milk … it is also inanimate object – perhaps in relation to him and the life around him. He certainly doesn’t understand the ‘world of the balloon’ … the clear comparison with water fits nicely with the jug image … and then finally he is left with the remains of the balloon in his hand … it is just a shred – no image of cathead or fish … it is just a shred with no understanding of how this has happened.

In bi-polar terms we could equate the balloon = a ‘high’ …the burst balloon = a ‘low’ … the transformation form one state to another as with the baby a complete mystery.

Today let such thoughts float into the unknown and just look at these guileless balloons as a description of simple family play.

Love set you going like a fat gold watch - now in OBE territory
Previous Birthday Post

... and here is an excellent link to an on-going SP Website for those interested in SP …

... also this celebration site

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rosemary Dobson - Poetry Continues

Rosemary Dobson died on 27 June this year at the age of 92. She was a well -respected Canberra poet who had known another well-known Canberra poet David Campbell. They had worked together on poetry and when David Campbell died as a tribute she wrote twelve poems entitled ‘The Continuance of Poetry’. They are short pieces that reflect their shared times and an interest in Chinese poetry.

In relation to this and the ‘continuance of poetry’ Radio National broadcast a commentary on this work and here is a link to the audio from this session …

Below are two of the poems from this sequence …

7… Translations Under the Trees
Wine to drink at a plank table,
Poems blowing about,
Some we stalk like Li Po and the moon in the stream,
Some we put under the carafe.

Pollen brushed from the table
Flies off to make forests
In faraway countries;                                                                         
May change a landscape.

Poems blow away like pollen,
Find distant destinations,
Can seed new songs
In another language.

Note … poems have a life and like the above interest in the Chinese work of Li Po poems can spread to distant shores (the translation effects the birth of this new life, hopefully the seeds land on fertile ground).

8… At The Coast
The high wind has stripped the bark from the gum-trees,
Smooth-boled they follow each other down to the water.
From rented houses the daughters of professors
Emerge smooth-limbed in this light summer season.
They step from behind the trees at the edge of the water
As smooth as ochre and as cool as lemon.
And which are girls and which are smooth-limbed saplings?
The light is trembling on them from the water.
They glow and flicker in and out of shadow
Like poetry behind the print on pages.
Note … David Campbell’s poems drew strength from a landscape association … looking into the landscape we find his poems (from Rosemary’s final poem in the sequence) … in the above there is direct personification, person and nature inseparable, … I’m sure Thomas Hardy would identify with such sentiment.
Poetry continues … continues to flow … the past will always complete the present in some form or other and I am sure Rosemary’s work will continue through the years in many unseen ways.
The Wikipedia link to Rosemary Dobson …

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chinese Sayings - Intro

China is known for its wise sayings/proverbs passed down the centuries …

It can’t be over-stressed that at the time they were written they had to create words that were memorable and catchy to facilitate dissemination given that word of mouth (excuse the pun) was the only way to communicate … hence the importance of the actual words and their association, plus linking to rhyme and song to aid memory.

Most Chinese proverbs are based on historical events and the greatest number originates from that rich period of history, the third century BC, when the first Emperor of China reigned. He was the sovereign who united China, built the Great Wall, and created the magnificent tombs with the army of terracotta warriors.

An example … Govern the country like you would cook a small fish.

My (an) interpretation … Fish = Wealth … treat the country as though you have little and therefore respect every element that you have … not wasting any part … therefore treat (cook) gently and caringly … and in your own house with the best of your kitchen … adding your own ingredients to enhance flavour (government).

Recommended reading for those interested in history connected to words is … A Thousand Pieces of Gold … this is a memoir of China’s past through its proverbs by Adeline yen Mah … it was due to this book that Philip Larkin met Adeline. Larkin described Chinese proverbs as ‘white dwarfs of literature’ … white dwarfs = tiny stars whose atoms are packed so closely together that their weight is immense compared to their size … proverbs being densely compacted with thoughts and ideas. To discover meaning meditation or mulling on the words is often necessary. Another very important factor is the translation (translator).

Some proverbs to consider …

One written word is worth a thousand pieces of gold
Clapping with one hand produces no sound
Binding your feet to prevent your own progress
When a tree falls the monkeys scatter

Here is a link to Chinese Proverbs from Wikiquote ...

Footnote … Adeline also states that the equivalent to Shakespeare in China is Sima-Qian (145 – 90BC) a chinese historian who lived during the Han dynasty. He wrote only one book Shiji (Historical Record) published after his death and a bestseller since … perhaps the greatest Chinese book ever written.

Another Wikipedia Link ...