Thought for the Week – 10th April 2022
A colleague at work this week posted on his Facebook page what I believe is a classic Chinese poem, first published in 430AD and called Quatrain of Seven Steps, apparently because it could be recited whilst walking just seven paces. Wikipedia has the full story. The author imagines beans, being boiled over a fire, calling out to the bean roots, which are being burnt to make the heat.
Beans are boiled to make broth, Pulses are filtered to extract juice.
Under the pot the beanstalks burn, In the pot the beans weep.
“We are born of the self-same root, Why in such a rush to cook me?”
The poem is said to have been written in response to the threat of civil war and is essentially an appeal for the ruler of the victorious party to be merciful in his treatment to the losers; the poet is reminding him of his common humanity with the vanquished. The confirmation of killings of civilians in Ukraine by Russian forces shows us what happens when individuals forget this and see only enemies, not fellow humans made in the image of God.
Rev David Poyner