ancient times writing about chopsticks was not common with officials
and higher society in China. However as chopsticks were an important
part of daily life of common people many poems and riddles exist. Here
are a few for your enjoyment.
Yuan Mu was a scholar during the
Qing Dynasty [the last imperial dynasty in China]. Not only was he a
poet but he also loved food. Retiring at the age of 40 he traveled to
Nanjing to build the Sui Gardens. There he lived a leisurely life
tasting the many great dishes and foods of the local restaurants. At
seventy-three he completed the famous cook book Menu of the Sui Garden.
Over the years he built a special fondness for chopsticks, writing
Song of Chopsticks
It is ironic you are busy grabbing,
Into the mouth of others you are sending.
Your life is full of sweet and sour,
But could you discern the taste at all?
Another poem by Yuan Mu
Like two ladies small and thin,
Their waists are held open to their feet.
To taste the flavors, good or bad,
You have to reach out the tongue to feed.
The following poem is by Zhu Shuzhen, a female poet of the Song Dynasty. The poem is written like a riddle.
Diligence questions chopsticks,
You first taste bitter or sweet.
Others get good flavor happily,
Yet you reap nothing with busy feet.
A modern poem by Feng Jicai, vice chairman of the Chinese Writers Association:
Do not allege chopsticks are small,
Daily meals they accompany you all.
The history of bitter and sweet,
Only chopsticks can fully tell.
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