MING DI e o Th ldest Chinese poem is a very short one with eight words only, two in four pairs, roughly translated into English like this: Cut a bamboo 断竹 Tie the ends 续竹 Shoot a mud 飞土 And chase that meat 逐肉 In its straightforward description of the early hunting days when our ancestors were making bows from bamboo trees, we see how humans were destroying nature, as well as how smart they were in using bamboo branches to make a bow; we see how they captured animals and consumed their meat. From the earliest days of literature, nature poems were anti-nature; that is, about how opposed to nature human actions were. Later poets tried to sing of how beau- tiful nature was, but their words paled in the light of their cruelty in killing and eating other creatures. e diff Th erence between nature poetry and eco-poetry seems to be the aware- ness, in the latter, of human nature: how we destroy the balance of the natural world around us. Part of the awareness results in an attempt to reinterpret the earlier poems. Why were there human voices in the deep, quiet forest in Wang Wei’s
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 10, 2019
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