Friday, May 11, 2007

Confucius and his uncle

Before he became a wise old man,
Confucius was a young man.
      In his youth, he traveled,
      read great texts,
      talked to intelligent men,
      made it known
            he intended to become wise—
You wish to be wise, his uncle asked him,
better a mule wish he were an ox—
his uncle did not think much
            of reading
      or of learned men—
They know much about tea,
      but little about tea leaves,
he said—
meaning either:
      They enjoy the hard labor of others,
      They know nothing about the forces
            which shape destiny—
his uncle had a gift
      for saying more than one thing
                  at a time.