Thursday, August 11, 2011

burning my manuscripts - yi kyubo

Burning My Manuscripts
by Yi Kyubo

In my youth I used to write songs.
When the brush moved down the page,
I wrote with unimpeded flow.
My poems, I thought, were as beautiful as jade;
who dared talk about flaws?
Afterwards, I studied them again:
there wasn't a fine word in one of them.
To retain them would be to soil my writing box:
unbearable thought, so I burned them in the kitchen fire.
If I look next year at this year's poems,
they will all be the same; I'll scrap them too.
Perhaps that's why Minister Kao of old
first composed when he was fifty.

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