‘In our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.’
Like the quote above, the poem that follows is not mine.
I include it here as a rare rasa or emotional expression
containing an exquisite expression of
sadness, despair, hardship, sorrow and longing.
Lonely traveler at the end of the earth,
Drifter across the four seas
Hardships thrust upon me all day long,
Not a single moment in which to rest
A thousand pounds of debt weigh down on me
As I seek a mound of gold.
Far from my village, distant from my home
Anxious to return with fine and beaded clothes
Bearing humiliation like an ox or horse,
Tears are pouring down my face.
Blood and sweat flow day and night
Who, I ask, can undo this misery?
My heart goes out to my poor loved one
Across the ocean but always in my mind.
By day I don't dare think of things gone by,
But anxious dreams take me back ten thousand miles
-by John Zheng, a Fujanese American man living in New York
(translated by Pamela Burdman) I found it in the SF Chronicle 4/29/93