Poetry of Cao Cao

Reprinted from my nascent G+ blog:

The Chinese TV series, Three Kingdoms, is a great program and one of the best I’ve seen about this great historical story (more here about The Romance of the Three Kingdoms).

All of the actors were well-chosen for their characters and it is a real pleasure to watch them become these famous people of ancient history.

The character of Cao Cao is neither hero nor villain. He has conflicting sides to him, which makes him real. His poetry reflects that and I’ll leave you with this:

Though the Tortoise Lives Long (龜雖壽).


Though the Tortoise Lives Long


Though the tortoise blessed with magic powers lives long,

Its days have their allotted span;


Though winged serpents ride high on the mist,

They turn to dust and ashes at the last;


An old war-horse may be stabled,

Yet still it longs to gallop a thousand li;


And a noble-hearted man though advanced in years

Never abandons his proud aspirations.


Man’s span of life, whether long or short,

Depends not on Heaven alone;


One who eats well and keeps cheerful

Can live to a great old age.


And so, with joy in my heart,

I hum this song.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.