Sleeping on Brushwood

​卧薪尝胆

2018

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!  

今日何日兮?

瞰得昨夕峭壁前之沧海。

今晨何晨兮?

吾可无患之纳新吐故。

思越王勾践卧薪尝胆。

其刺之薪制床茵,吾今可随往昔冬之忆共埋。

那碗冷之胆汤,亦可随风撒散。

吾已无须夜夜谨记昔年之背疤苦。

朝晨若能曜诸地,众人掩其昔之耻,岂不与我胸前污名同为照?

坚吾手,直吾背!令其朝阳吻吾之面!