he penciled poetry

i recently began a book that shook me to the core from page 1.  the heart aroused, by david whyte.  it feels like a self help book in a thicker, more formal language.  different from the non fictions today.  it was published 20+ years ago and is about “poetry and the preservation of the soul in corporate america”.  about the people who charge through the working world, despite the poetry or art that calls to their heart.   a passion that is not used professionally.  while i have never loved poetry (though i wish i did), it is exactly the place that i am stuck at in life.   an english major at heart, working in a non-related field.

and then today, as i made my rounds thru the buildings of my shift @ the heritage site – i found something striking.

the shipyard formed a community in the 1900s that housed many different ethnicities doing various forms of labour to keep a living.  and in one of the exhibit pieces on display, there was a window frame where, supposedly – a chinese labourer had once upon a time, penciled in two lines of a chinese poem.  is it real?  i wonder b/c the writing is still so legible after all these years.  if this was from the interior of the window, then perhaps it was.  perhaps it survived all the decades of rain and wind and the coming and going of so many generations that followed.  but it is a quite a romantic idea, i think, to believe that a labourer who slaved away for their low wages in this part of the world – liked poems.  liked it enough that he left just a whisper of his existence in place by penciling in two lines of recited poetry.

i think when anyone leaves any form of writing behind, they leave a bit of their spirit.  a bit of their soul.

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ps.  i had meant to send this image to myself and accidentally sent it to jy.  i sent her a note after and told her not to pay heed to it.  she must have read the image though, because without another note, she sent me the chinese poem in its entirety.  it’s funny how these unintentional acts can sometimes reap such meaningful rewards.

「天將降大任於斯人也,必先苦其心志,勞其筋骨,餓其體膚,空乏其身,行拂亂其所為,所以動心忍性,增益其所不能。」