We writers are the greatest of narcissists – we make a profession of consuming ourselves and then try to sell what we spit out. Books themselves, the paper kind, give me much pleasure. All my life, I haven’t cared if they were soggy and wet, dry, burnt, or new as long as I could hold them in my hands and read them. When I was much younger, my school complained to my mother that I read through their books too fast. They couldn’t buy enough.
伊人卜筑自幽深， yī rén bo;bǔ zhú;zhù zì yōu shēn，
桂巷杉篱不可寻。 guì xiàng shān lí bù kě xún。
柱上雕虫对书字， zhù shàng diāo chóng duì shū zì，
槽中瘦马仰听琴。 cáo zhōng shòu mǎ yǎng tīng qín。
求之流辈岂易得， qiú zhī liú bèi qǐ yì dé;děi;de，
行矣关山方独吟。 xíng;háng;xìng yǐ guān shān fāng dú yín。
赊取松醪一斗酒， shē qǔ sōng láo yī dǒu jiǔ，
与君相伴洒烦襟。 yǔ jūn xiāng bàn sǎ fán jīn。
The gentleman has built for himself a serene, secluded abode
Hidden behind hedges and cassia groves
Where books are kept, insect script is carved on pillars
At fodder troughs, hungry horses lift their heads, as if to hear the zither play
Can my search for a kindred spirit be that easy!
I travelled the mountain passes as if for that special sound
I buy a head of pine mead,
And with my mate wash away my troubles!
Musical Interlude: Wane of the Moon (Composer: Chu Kaiyeng, Pianist: Mark Obama Ndesandjo)
This is a recent work by the talented young Hong Kong composer Mr. Chu Kaiyeng. Since I heard this at a recent concert in Hong Kong, I have enjoyed learning this meditation on moonlight and dreams. Enjoy!