The poet stands at the center of the universe,drawing sustenance
contemplating the enigma,
from masterpieces of the past.
Studying the four seasons as they pass,
seeing the inter-connectedness of things,
we learn the inumerable ways of the world.
We mourn leaves torn away
by cruel hands of autumn;
we honor every tender bud of spring.
Autumn frost sends a shudder through the heart;
summer clouds can make the spirit soar.
Learn to recite the classics;
sing in the clear virtue of ancient masters;
explore the treasures of the classics
where form and content are born.
Thus moved, I lay aside my books
and take writing brush in hand
to make this composition.
by Lu Chi,
The Art of Writing, c.a. 200 A.D.
translated by Sam Hamill
Milkweed Editions, 1991