Friday, August 22, 2014

Great Grand Schemes

As you can see by the ugly date stamp; we got up early with Cassie this morning, and I got a chance to try the white Samsung Galaxy 2 on dawn-lit clouds. It took me all day to figure out (it's deep in the menu) how to turn off the date stamp, but I have done it, so now I have to get up early tomorrow and see what's happening.

Writing What I've Seen

           Yuán Méi, (1716–1797)

All things that live
must make a living.
There's nothing got
without some getting.

From fabled beast to feeble bug
each schemes to make its way.
The Buddha, or the Taoist sage?
Unending in his labor;

and morning's herald, the rooster, too
can he not cock-a-doodle-doo?
I hunger, so I plot to eat;
I'm cold and would be robed . . .

But great grand schemes will get you grief
Take what you need, that's all.
A light craft takes the wind
and skims the water lightly.

Translated from the Chinese by J. P Seaton.
From The Gift of Tongues; twenty-five years of poetry from Copper Canyon Press,
edited by Sam Hamill,1996, page 295.

This is (part of) what comes of my having decided not to use translated Chinese poetry two nights in a row. Yuan Mei turns (look him up!) out to be a very interesting fellow from the Qing Dynasty. In addition to poetry, he wrote a classical text , Suiyuan Shidan, on cooking, which sounds quite complete. Here is the list of its sections from Wikipedia:

  • Preface (序)
  • Essential knowledge (須知單): 20 sections
  • Things to avoid (戒單): 14 sections
  • Seafoods (海鮮單): 9 sections
  • "Riversfoods" (江鮮單): 9 sections
  • Sacrificial animal (pork) (特牲單): 20 sections
  • Various animals (雜牲單): 16 sections
  • Winged tribe (birds) (羽族單): 20 sections
  • Water tribe, scaled (fish) (水族有鱗單): 18 sections
  • Water tribe, scaleless (水族無鱗單): 17 sections
  • Various vegetarian dishes (雜素菜單): 28 sections
  • Small dishes (小菜單): 41 sections
  • Appetizers (點心單): 55 sections
  • Rice and congee (飯粥單): 2 sections

  • Tea and wine (茶酒單): 16 sections

  • I am particularly fond of the Water Tribes (scaled and scaleless) and the Winged Tribe, but the heading for pork is also fantastic. I continue to learn things from this Copper Canyon anthology, which I highly recommend. Four four-line stanzas is a nice shape and size for a lyric, I think. Good night!

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