Writing Poetry Can Begin After Eighty:
My Father as a Poet in Process
---- Composing Song-poems (sòng cí 宋词) after Retirement
“Qìn Yuán Chūn (沁园春)” is the name of a common tune (cípaí词牌), which first appeared in the Tang Dynasty. It belongs to double-tone, commonly using antithesis sentences with 114 Chinese characters altogether. The pattern of its tune is as follows (the numbers in the lines below refer to the number of characters each line should contain):
After reading my daughter Xie Bangxiu’s article —--"Two Mentors, Two Styles, the Multifarious World", I was and still am deeply moved by her two mentors, who have guided her in different ways and fields. As her father, I want to express my deepest gratitude to them: Professor Zhao Heling in China and Professor Jay McDaniel in the United States. For this reason I have composed the two poems below in appreciation of them. Some of the ideas and information about them are based on Professor Zhao’s "Contemporary Process Philosophy and China’s Education Thought: Curriculum and Instruction from the Viewpoints of Three Kinds of Philosophy" and on Professor McDaniel’s Whiteheadian reflection on my daughter’s "When Headache Becomes Adventure: Dancing with English with Help from a Teacher ".
No road leads to the Book Mountain, where winding and dangerous snow mounts and hills exist, tall and steep.
A fairly old disciple, from thousands of miles away, carrying books on her back, is persistent in learning, taking diligence as a way on her trip.
Her teacher creates quizzes for her, strict and cautious in his training, urging her to learn from Liang Hao who at eighty-two raced to the top.
Working extraordinarily hard, she walks step by step forward, determined not to stop.
How lucky she was to meet her mentor in North-eastern China, she enjoys his guide and help.
To teach and learn through disciplined activities, to learn the spirit of the world, to raise the level of practice, to create and develop.
Supported to explore, pushed to knock at new doors, with his care she freely travels on her trip.
I make a rabbit-type bow to him, wishing him more good works, wishing him a life long and happy.
Learning is endless, like a vast sea, wavy and fierce, hardly able to reach the end.
A learner approaching her fifties, thirsty for knowledge, stays up late learning, taking hard-work as a boat to tend.
Like a beacon light, gently and kindly he respects and trusts her, encouraging her to counter waves and top wind.
Raising her head, she sees day breaking, wanting to reach the goal ahead.
Fortunately she encounters Jay, and feels at ease as if in the spring wind, in exploring wisdom and eager her path to extend.
Learning from life itself, from goodness and beauty, difficulty and suffering, in process to travel: call and respond, call and respond.
Employing his wisdom and kindness, he offers aid to others, Whiteheadian thought in mind.
I heartily wish Professor McDaniel a life with longevity and health sound.
 Liáng Hào (梁灏)——A man in the Song Dynasty of ancient China, who became a champion in the comprehensive examinations at the age of eighty-two, and thus realized his ambition.
Composed on Feb. 6, 2011 (Jan. 4, 2011----Chinese Rabbit Year).
[Qìn Yuán Chūn·My Gratitude to Her Mentors (Chinese)]
杰伊教授——杰伊·麦克丹尼尔（Jay McDaniel），美国汉德里克斯学院（Hendrix College）教授。