Sleeping on Brushwood
Which day is this? That I behold the sea beyond last night’s precipice. Which dawn is this? That I breathe deep without restraint. I ruminate over that Chinese idiom ‘sleeping on brushwood tasting gall’, coined after King Goujian who shunned luxury and persevered through hardship until he emerged triumphant.
My mattress of thorny brushwood I now bury in memory of those long winter nights. My cold broth of gall I now release to the wind. No further need have I now for nightly reminders of those bitter years marred upon my back.
If the sun were to everywhere shine, would not the same stigma of yesteryear blaze on many a naked chest as mine? Nay, steady my hand and stand my back straight! Let the sun kiss my branded cheek!