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Caught in the Rain on My Way to the Sandy Lake -- Su Shi (Su Dong-po)

Guest poem submitted by Rohit Jaisingh:
(Poem #1470) Caught in the Rain on My Way to the Sandy Lake
 Listen not to the rain beating against the trees.
 Why not walk slowly while chanting at ease?
 Better than a saddle I like sandals and cane.
 I'd fain
 In a straw cloak, spend my life in mist and rain.

 Drunken, I am sobered by the vernal wind shrill
 And rather chill.
 In front, I see the slanting sun atop the hill;
 Turning my head, I see the dreary beaten track.
 Let me go back!
 Impervious to rain or shine, I'll have my own will.
-- Su Shi (Su Dong-po)
        Translated by Xu Yuan-zhong.

I came across Su Shi, most unexpectedly, in a equity research report.
Not the sort of place one routinely bumps into good poetry, but there it
was. Many thanks to Y. K. Fu, the author of that report.

Su Shi's versatility is quite amazing. While he is best know for his
satirical poems in which he takes broad swipes at the administration,
some of his other work is remarkably beautiful.

This poem struck a strong personal chord. How many times have we taken
the road less travelled, the less popular alternative and had to contend
with tremendous adversity? Suddenly, friends give you a wide berth and
you feel less than welcome. It tests your resolve, it is so easy to fall
in line. Su Shi himself faced a near-fatal beating, exile, two jail
sentences and poverty in harsh backwaters for his outspoken views.

Eventually, integrity and strength in one's convictions is all that
matters. And when life later proves you right, it tastes very sweet


1. Biography
[broken link]

2. Su Shi (1037-1101) and the Humor of Resistance, David McGraw
[broken link]

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