two years old!

happy koi

This past week my blog turned two years old! I was in the midst of doing character studies for the new project but here is a little celebratory doodle. One of my most visited posts ever is strangely enough “the meaning of koi” which expounds on said topic – lucky, lucky fish! So I thought they were a suitable doodle topic along with a water lily… just ’cause. Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

UPDATE: Celebratory poem from Tom – thanks!!!

Beneath the water-lily’s flower
Lurk the koi in cooling bower
Where the breadth of sun-bathed pads
Shades the fish from all that’s sad

O happy koi in water clear
Bringing luck to all come near
Such subtle spirit-healing power
Gold beneath the purple flower

Copyright (C) 2011 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

Confucius!

completing the trio of great Chinese thinkers...

Confucianism may not be my favourite of the three main streams of Chinese philosophy – too rigid and hierarchical – but for centuries his thoughts and maxims have influenced and directed Chinese life. It was only during the last few decades that his ideas were banished in China – but apparently no longer! There is a new statue of the sage in Tiananmen Square! I am not sure that either Mao or Confucius would really be happy about their new proximity…

image (cc) Hilary Farmer

Laozi…

more thinking

Laozi as a youngish man – usually he is portrayed as very old…

Here is a short chapter (44) from the Taoteching as translated by Red Pine. (I really enjoy his version which includes historical commentaries alongside the text.)

Which is more vital
fame or health
which is more precious
health or riches
which is more harmful
loss or gain
the deeper the love
the higher the cost
the bigger the treasure
the greater the loss
who knows contentment
suffers no shame
who knows restraint
encounters no trouble
and thus lives long

名 與 身 孰 親 。
身 與 貨 孰 多 。
得 與 亡 孰 病 。
甚 愛 必 大 費 ﹔
多 藏 必 厚 亡 。
故 知 足 不 辱 ,
知 止 不 殆 ,
可 以 長 久 。

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

meditative doodle…

Thinking about things...

Time to post something new for the new year!

The start of a new year seems like the right time think about things – looking backward to look forward or something like that. I am happy that this blog has given me a forum to experiment and show my work and I definitely plan to continue over the coming year. I have a number of other creative projects underway and in the works (maybe too many!) Perhaps if there’s one thing to focus on this year, it’s having a better balance between all aspects of life – most of us could use some of that – I know I could!

Here’s a short poem about poetry – in particular, the poetry of a certain Tang Dynasty Chinese monk named Han Shan – as interpreted by the American poet, Peter Stambler… It seems about right for a cold winter day…enjoy!

The Uses of Poetry

To join happy men, collect Han Shan’s poems,
More sonorous, more savory than a morning’s sutras.

With bamboo shoots, pin them to your cracked walls.
Read them over in the evenings, keeping out the cold.

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

Hai Zi, mystic poet – to face the sea…

and have flowers in spring...

From tomorrow on, be a happy man
Raise horses, chop wood, see the world.
From tomorrow on, care about food and vegetables
I will have a house, facing the sea, and flowers in spring.

From tomorrow on, write to all my family
Tell them of my happiness
This spark of joy, its message
I will let everyone know

Give every river, every mountain, a warm name

You too, stranger, I wish you the best
Wish you a brilliant future
Wish you everlasting love
Wish you happiness in this world

Me, I just want to face the sea, and have flowers in spring.

Hai Zi

海 子

从 明 天 起 , 做 一 个 幸 福 的 人
喂 马 , 劈 柴 , 周 游 世 界
从 明 天 起 , 关 心 粮 食 和 蔬 菜
我 有 一 所 房 子 , 面 朝 大 海 , 春 暖 花 开
从 明 天 起 , 和 每 一 个 亲 人 通 信
告 诉 他 们 我 的 幸 福
那 幸 福 的 闪 电 告 诉 我 的
我 将 告 诉 每 一 个 人
给 每 一 条 河 每 一 座 山 取 一 个 温 暖 的 名 字
陌 生 人 , 我 也 为 你 祝 福
愿 你 有 一 个 灿 烂 的 前 程
愿 你 有 情 人 终 成 眷 属
愿 你 在 尘 世 获 得 幸 福
我 只 愿 面 朝 大 海 , 春 暖 花 开

This is a very different style from my usual but I thought it suited this simple yet wistful poem. Haizi is a 20th century Chinese poet with a sad story…

Unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the translator/poet for this English version.

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

why there’s a rabbit on the moon – final page!

A brief break to the ongoing “What if” poetic tale, to finally bring you the last page for the Rabbit on the Moon series!

As ever, you can see it en français on le 12 as well!

images, text variant and formatting (cc) 2009 & 2010 Hilary Farmer
French translation on le 12 courtesy of Maxime Dallaire – thanks Max!

why there’s a rabbit on the moon – page 4

It’s been a while since we saw a page layout for Rabbit in the Moon – I guess we needed a break. Anyway, here’s the second last page – final layout next month. I’m pretty happy with this one both because it has my favourite image of the whole series and because I did the layout myself this time! Check out this month’s le 12 for the version en français!

images, text variant and layout (cc) 2009 & 2010 Hilary Farmer

Dream and Poetry…

It’s all ordinary experience,
All ordinary images.
By chance they emerge in a dream,
Turning out infinite new patterns.

It’s all ordinary feelings,
All ordinary words.
By chance they encounter a poet,
Turning out infinite new verses.

Once intoxicated, one learns the strength of wine,
Once smitten, one learns the power of love:
You cannot write my poems
Just as I cannot dream your dreams.

都是平常经验,
都是平常影像,
偶然涌到梦中来,
变幻出多少新奇花样!
都是平常情感,
都是平常言语,
偶然碰着个诗人,
变幻出多少新奇诗句!
醉过才知酒浓,
爱过才知情重;
你不能做我的诗,
正如我不能做你的梦

Hu Shih (胡適) (trans. Kai-Yu Hsu)

ever studious..

Today’s doodle courtesy of my studious friend. He didn’t notice I was drawing him until I was almost finished… and yes! he’s practising writing Chinese!

I found the above poem recently and wanted to share it. The poet is Hu Shih (胡適) a 20th Century Chinese poet who pioneered the use of common language (as opposed to classical) in Chinese poetry and philosophy.

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

why there’s a rabbit on the moon – part 22

rabbit on the moon

To this day, if you look closely, you can still see them together, companionably pounding the elixir of immortality.

Epilogue:
Houyi died shortly after of rage – that’s what they called a heart attack back then – thereby proving the ancient saying that “a tyrant never choses his own death”. The people rejoiced and vowed never to have a king again… until the next time.

image and text variant (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

Here it is – the final image for “why there’s a rabbit on the moon”! I hope you had as much fun reading as I had producing the story. By-the-way, the ancient saying I quote here, was quoted in the Tao Te Ching as an already ancient saying, see verse 42.

why there’s a rabbit on the moon – recap 3

Well, I guess the final image will be posted next week since I am not completely happy with it yet. In the meantime, here’s the most recent recap… and you can check it out as usual en français on le 12!

images and text variant (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer and thanks to Maxime Dallaire for the formatting of the page!