chinese scroll paintings of bamboo
Those who understand the bamboo
respect its majesty, its virtue;
know that because it has a hollow heart
it is free from the tyranny of passion;
that it towers above the ordinary,
can withstand changing winds,
does not bend to oppression,
grows as thoughts grow in brains,
is in harmony with nature.
The artist who sketches the bamboo
with ink, on silk or on rice paper,
knows that his pen must flow like water
or he will show disrespect for the bamboo.
He cannot hesitate; his brush must move
like a cloud, because the bamboo
will not conform to the blotches and stains
of human error. Nor will it ever
belong to artist or emperor.