November 7, 2021

Cao Zhi

QUATRAIN OF SEVEN STEPS

煮豆燃豆萁,
豆在釜中泣:
本是同根生,
相煎何太急!

Cooking beans over a stalk fire,
beans are weeping in the boiler:
Beans and stalks from one root,
why should we kill each other!

—tr. by Yuemin He

from Poets Respond
November 7, 2021

__________

Yuemin He: “Overnight this famous Chinese poem has become a web sensation. The business magnet Elon Musk tweeted it and his fans followed, catapulting a poem from 1800 years ago to a new spatial-temporal under the title ‘Humanity.’ Fans are guessing the intent of the tweet, creative folks are writing pastiches, and I translate to wax the table for poetry lovers who relish flavor.”

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