井底之蛙

5/13/2009

But what about the books?

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 6:46 am

So supposedly they are going to tear down my office building and replace it with a new one. This may end up not happening, and it will probably not happen real soon, but this time it is apparently coming. Besides the hassles of being in a temporary office for a year, what is going to happen with all my books? I took a weird shaped interior office specifically so I would have room for them all1 and now they are going to spend a year in limbo and then what? Will they all fit in the new office? What will happen to my careful system of disorganization? Could they maybe just cut my arm off and leave it an that?

I was going to write a poem about all this, but Bai Juyi already did it for me


Bai Juyi, On the Cabinet for My Literary Collection

I broke up cypress to make a book cabinet,
the cabinet sturdy and the cypress strong.
Whose collection is stored there?-
the heading says “Bai Ledan.”
My lifetime’s capital is in writing
from childhood on to old age.
Seventy scrolls from beginning to end,
in size, three thousand pieces.
I know well that at last they will be scattered,
but I cannot bear to rashly throw them away.
I open it up, I lock it tight,
placing it by my study curtain.
I am childless Deng You,
and there is no Wang Can in this age.2
I can only entrust it to my daughter
to keep and pass on to my grandchild.3

  1. well, all the ones in the office []
  2. Deng You was a famous litereratus who gave all this books to the young Wang Can []
  3. From Owen The Late Tang: Chinese Poetry of the Mid-Ninth Century p.55 Not exactly the same problem as mine, but pretty close []

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