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
(590-660)

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.

.

12 comments

  1. Mona - Some Like It Raw

    I like when you teach me in poems, Lisa.
    It speaks to the softer part of myself that needs these reminders
    and can only hear them if they’re said in a way that is “just so.”
    xoxo

  2. Michelle Russell

    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.

  3. dawn

    What a beautiful post to remind us to be compassionate and tame our egos. Thanks. It’s perfect.

  4. David | Listen Feel Breathe

    love it.

    yes let’s not compare, but rather be happy with who we are and what we have.

  5. David Cohen

    I love this. In fact, you inspired another doodle :)

  6. shà„na

    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!

  7. Pingback: Things I Learned This Week

  8. Kylie

    “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”.

  9. Ruben Berenguel

    Just let go. Don’t look ahead nor behind, just sit in the moment and breathe.

    Cheers,

    Ruben

  10. Scarlet

    I love how your poetry teaches me lessons in ways that I don’t mind learning them… and even smile while doing so. :-)

  11. Andrew

    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.

  12. Andrew

    Zenophobia,
    A new word?
    Mind shudders, perplexed,
    To what does it pertain?
    Andy 17th July 2013

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