Monday, February 25, 2008


one of the greatest responsibilities of power is to disseminate it.

to turn your power into other people's power, to use your power to empower.

or to use the word "disseminate" directly according to its history: to spread out the seeds of your power, so that more power can grow among the people you share it with.

this is something we are learning.

that power shared is power grown.

and that as fearful as we all are for ourselves, for our families, and for our friends, we all must overcome the drive of that fear that makes us want to hoard the power we have, in the hopes that that hoarding will keep us and those we love always safe.

it does not. in the long run, it is the power---all the different powers, in fact---that we share with each other, that keeps us all safe.

this is not pie-in-the-sky idealism.

this is simply true.

and this truth is quite freeing.

so go have fun with it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

古從軍行, in a way

A scruffyish translation attempt for one of my favorite Tang poems. Criticisms welcome, since I'll admit that a decent chunk of the vocab and contextual usage is beyond me.

Oh, and the linking words added at the beginning of each translational stanza (by, hear, now, see, and, so) are meant to be read at the beginning of both lines in each stanza they head. Just written once for a cleaner, sparer layout.



白日登山望烽火, 黃昏飲馬傍交河。
行人刁斗風沙暗, 公主琵琶幽怨多。
野雲萬里無城郭, 雨雪紛紛連大漠。
胡雁哀鳴夜夜飛, 胡兒眼淚雙雙落。
聞道玉門猶被遮, 應將性命逐輕車。
年年戰骨埋荒外, 空見葡萄入漢家。

white day, we climb mountains, scanning for beacon fires
yellow dusk, we water horses, near the borderland river

the scout's diaodou, so dim in windblown sand,
the princess's pipa, so great in lonesome grief

wild clouds: for ten thousand li, there's not a city or a town
rain and snow: incessant, it fuses the sky to the desert

the foreign geese, night after night, calls keening as they fly
the foreign children, tear after tear, eyes both streaming as they cry

we hear tell: Jade Gate is still blocked off,
we obey the general: and stake our lives to our flimsy vehicles

year after year, war bones are buried, out in the desert
just to see grapes brought in, to the homes of the rich.