Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Old Chinese Poem

Many classic Chinese poems speak eloquently of the suffering caused by warfare. The author of this one is unknown, but it is considered a classic.

At fifteen I went with the army,
At fourscore I came home.
On the way I met a man from the village,
I asked him who there was at home.
That over there is your house,
All covered over with trees and bushes.
Rabbits had run in at the dog-hole,
Pheasants flew down from the beams of the roof.
In the courtyard was growing some wild grain;
And by the well, some wild mallows.
I'll boil the grain and make porridge,
I'll pluck the mallows and make soup.
Soup and porridge are both cooked,
But there is no one to eat them with.
I went out and looked towards the east,
While tears fell and wetted my clothes.

Translated by Arthur Waley (1919)

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Expediency is one thing and moral justification is another.

Mortimer Adler
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