Comparison, sticks and scrawny donkeys

When the rich pass proudly by
on big, smooth horses,
I feel foolish
riding my scrawny donkey.

I feel much better
when we overtake
a bundle of sticks
riding a bony man.

Wang Fan-Chih

Comparison. It’s really not helpful.

It hurts to compare and fall short.

Yet to come out ahead is to carry the same burden in a different pocket.

Ahead. Behind. Either way, hooked.

You are immense. Unstoppable. Exceptional.

You are insignificant. Fragile. Ordinary.

So are the people ahead and behind.

And it doesn’t even matter.



  1. Mmmmm. What a delicious nugget of wisdom. Almost haiku-ish in the way that it concentrates this idea about comparison into such a small but intensely flavored snack.

    Particularly, I like the part about “coming out ahead” being the same burden in a different pocket . . . so true, yet so hard to remember.

  2. just the bedtime wisdom my heavy heart needs! whenever i’m sick (from flare up or flu) the tapes in my head gets stuck on, “missing life”, “life is passing you by” “people are passing you by”
    thanks love, for being here!

  3. “Ahead. Behind. Either way, hooked.”

    So very true. Thank you for the reminder. I often need one.

    And thank you for the poem. How wonderful is that phrase “a bundle of sticks riding a bony man”.

  4. Zenophobia,
    A new word, a new synapse shudders,
    Comes to life.
    What is this word?
    What does it mean?
    My master says it is beautiful, like bamboo.
    Fear turns to benevolence,
    The fish are happy.
    Andy 17th July 2013.

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