The true art of Eastern poetry is much like calligraphy in that sometimes the shortest strokes yield the boldest lines

The true art of Eastern poetry is much like calligraphy in that sometimes the shortest strokes yield the boldest lines

The true art of Eastern poetry is much like calligraphy in that sometimes the shortest strokes yield the boldest lines

 

1.The true art of Eastern poetry is much like calligraphy in that sometimes the shortest strokes yield the boldest lines. Even poets from centuries past in the “Classic of Poetry” collection, made it clear through their works that much can be said in the simplest phrases. My favorite poem in the collection reviewed, was “Quince”. It depicts real love in an admiring and soft manner instead of deep passion or stories of heartache which are commonplace in our modern society.

“Quince” could have several different interpretations, but I favor the one I reference here. In each stanza, a girl gives a different gift to the recipient. It is unknown whether it was a gift of genuine affection or a hardly acknowledged action (by the verbiage of “she cast”, it sounds almost half-hearted). Regardless, the girl gives a different fruit to the receiver on three separate occasions. In response, however, the speaker gives her something far more precious. They were not of equal value because that’s not what love is about. Many make the mistake of thinking that you give what you get and vice versa in a healthy relationship; each giving their 50% to create the whole. This is not in the best interest of love, however, because it creates the spirit-breaking problem of “keeping score”. The speaker in this poem shows that love will last when you give from your heart, regardless of what you get in return. This means always giving your 100%, regardless of maintaining an effort-equilibrium. This interpretation makes even more sense if the girl here is giving gifts that are from her heart, even though they were not worth much monetarily. I’m choosing to see it from this angle. In theory, if you always give better than you receive then you will receive real love’s faithful admiration.

Confucius was a man who also saw the benefit in making fewer words carry deeper meaning. In his analects, many sayings of his were focused on life and how to live your best one with honor and gentleness. Here, I have listed a couple that I believe are of great importance, as well as my interpretation of them.

“To know something is not as good as loving it; to love something is not as good as rejoicing in it.”

Here, we are presented with the contrasting realities of knowing, loving, and rejoicing over something or someone. There are huge differences in each and, if looking at it through a lover’s lens, it can be a “make it or break it” difference. It is one thing to know everything about someone but quite another to love them as they are. A step further says you can even love someone, but if you do not nurture and rejoice in who they are, they will not feel appreciated and respected. This is the ultimate realization of love. Many unknowingly think the highest attainable is step two and never see the fullness of love because of it. The example of a flower can be used as well. You can see a wildflower and know information about it and how it grows- this is simply knowing. You can even adore this flower and wish to pick it and look at it for as long as it lasts- you love this thing of beauty. Yet, the one who rejoices in the wonder of the flower leaves it alone and lets it grow, making sure it is protected and is allowed to live and thrive in the way it was created to. You may even rejoice in its beauty by taking pictures of it in order to share it with friends, without harming the integrity of the flower.

“In the old days, people studied to improve themselves. Now they study in order to impress others.”

This quote is yet another life lesson. We cannot live our lives in comparison to, or in order to impress, those around us. Study should be to improve yourself and your own thinking and way of life. We can only be the best version of ourselves anyway, so it makes no sense that we should push ourselves only to please someone who is fundamentally on a different path than we are. Comparison and seeking to impress others go hand in hand as they are mischievous twins that only serve to trip people on their journey. This is why, personally, I try to only compare myself with two people: God, in order to stay humble and thankful, and my best self, in order to keep moving forward and be better than I was before.

Answer preview to the true art of Eastern poetry is much like calligraphy in that sometimes the shortest strokes yield the boldest lines.

The true art of Eastern poetry is much like calligraphy in that sometimes the shortest strokes yield the boldest lines.

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