Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,
Welcome to our second long, long weekend. We have enjoyed a lot of literature, a huge amount of reading, and visits by authors in the past week and a half. Love of Reading Week, book swaps assisted by parents, and a magical fireside chat by Grace Wang on the beauty of the Chinese language have contributed to this mosaic. In introducing Grace’s talk on Sunday evening April 18, I admitted happily that I was totally unqualified to speak about the Chinese language. However, I did say that I had started reading the great classics of the Chinese poetic canon, in translation, when I was 13 or 14, and that I have sensed for over 50 years now how elegant, lovely, and evocative Chinese poetry can be.
I participated on Thursday afternoon last week in a truly delightful poetry reading in the High School Library organized by the Keystone Poetry Club. This event has become an annual tradition. What was so pleasing this year was to see and hear very young students from the Primary School reading and reciting fine poems from the classical tradition that they clearly loved, alongside older secondary students.
During Love of Reading Week, I noticed some students walking in to school reading books. In fact, this happens throughout the year and is a warming sight. To start our Love of Reading Week , students were at the gate and at the morning buses last week on Monday handing out poems printed on card. I received two poems, and felt lucky both because of this unexpected generosity and also because one was a Chinese poem, and the other one written in English. I would like to share them with you now, in the exact words that they were displayed. They are simple, but deep.
Facing the Sea With Spring Blossoms
From tomorrow on, I will be a happy man.
Grooming, chopping and traveling all over
From tomorrow on, I will care foodstuff
Living in a house towards the sea, with
From tomorrow on, write to each of my
Telling them of my happiness.
What the lightening of happiness has told
I will spread it to each of them.
Give a warm name for every river and every mountain.
May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young
Many poems combine easily and well with springtime. These two certainly do.
Happiness, sharing that feeling, and communicating ‘with our dear ones’ certainly seem to fit this time of the year. Our campus has been full of blossom recently. Beijing is beautiful in this short season. I love the thought of living near the sea with spring blossoms. Beijing by the beach – imagine that.
One of the great delights of teaching and working in schools is that the students, your children, stay forever young. As individuals, they do of course grow older every year. But when considered as a school cohort, the age range of a school student population is always the same. It is forever young. And that keeps us, their teachers, forever young, at least in spirit.
May we all stay forever young, at least for the next few days of holiday!
With warm regards,
Head of School