Through the reading, studying and writing of poetry, it is possible to instruct and cultivate the character of young pupils, as well as to promote children’s creative thinking, logical dialectics and humanistic consciousness. In addition, reciting, learning and writing poetry has the ability to cultivate one’s temperament, allowing people of all social strata, professional occupation and age to cleanse and purify their minds. The realm of poetry has the same effect of calming the soul as religious belief.
Originating from folk songs, poetry occupied a primary proportion in China’s history. Even Westerners can appreciate that even in translation, a Chinese poem reflects the quiet, unadorned beauty or message the author intends.
As poetry has maintained a valuable role in Chinese life, one poem may illustrate a painting. Another may appear on a tea box or adorn a rice bowl. A third may be carved on the bark of a tree in a park or forest. Poems not only ornament imperial palaces, but they may also be present in rustic dwellings. In other words, poems reflect all circumstances of life.
The following draft of the poem, From Over the Mighty Waters, by Pastor John Cao, featured in Living Lyrics, shares a slice of Pastor Cao’s life in prison:
From Over the Mighty Waters
Pastor Cao’s poems, like his life in and out of prison, reflect life, and God’s love.