On the Birth of a Son

By Su Tung-Po Su Tung-Po

Translated By Arthur Waley

Families when a child is born
Hope it will turn out intelligent.
I, through intelligence
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope that the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he'll be happy all his days
And grow into a cabinet minister.

Source: Poetry (January 1918).


Su Tung-Po (1037–1101) was a Chinese poet, writer, artist, and statesman during China’s Song era. Born to a family of literati in the present-day Sichuan province, he is also known as Po Su Shi, Su Shih, and Su Dongpo. He published under the pseudonym Dongpo Jushi.

Su Tung-Po spent most of his life employed in various governmental positions. His poetry and prose often put him at odds with ruling factions, and he was twice . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Birth & Birthdays, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, History & Politics


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