Bruce Lee started writing poetry when he moved from Hong Kong to the U.S. at age 18. He wrote poetry to express his feelings of contemplativeness, love, melancholy, and oneness with nature. The poetry was a way to process and understand his own feelings. Bruce also wrote poems and letters to his wife Linda expressing love and gratefulness for her. Linda says that she can still feel the warmth of his love through his writing. Bruce Lee was a masculine man of action who also had a very integrated feminine side. He was always cultivating both Yin and Yang.
The Dying Sun
The dying sun lies sadly in the far horizon, The autumn wind blows mercilessly. The yellow leaves fall From the mountain peak two streams parted unwillingly. One to the west one to the east. The sun will rise again in the morning, the leaves will be green again in the spring but must we be like the mountain stream never to meet again?
Love is like a friendship caught on fire
Love is like a friendship caught on fire In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce but still only light and flickering As love grows older our hearts mature, and our love becomes as coals deep burning and unquenchable
“My wife and I aren’t one and one. We are two halves that make a whole. You have to apply yourself to be a family. Two halves fitted together are more efficient than either half would be alone.”
Young man seize every minute of your time The days fly by ere long you too will grow old If you believe me not See there, in the courtyard? How the frost glitters white and cold and cruel on the grass that once was green? Do you not see that you and I are as the branches of one tree? With your rejoicing comes my laughter, with your sadness start my tears. Love, could life be otherwise with you and me?
“A very important person I’d like to thank. A quality human being in her own right, Giving, loving, stalwart, understanding this animal Bruce Lee and letting him simply be. My companion in our separate but intertwined pathways of growth, a definite enricher of my life, the woman I love, and fortunately for me, my wife. I cannot leave this paragraph without saying that, Linda, thanks for the day when at the University of Washington Bruce Lee had the honor to meet you.”
Rays spring from the east like purple arrows
The hummingbird begins his flight
Happily he flies through the purple sky looking for the lovely pink rose
On the mountain peak, away from the human world, he finds the pink rose waiting
Upon the mountain peak he hovers, in silence above the rose and waits as dawn from purple grows to gold
The sun moves on to afternoon, the time to part unwillingly the hummingbird rises above hovers, circles the rose three times, then flies to his nest, far far to the east
Through my window I have watched the crimson close of day, followed by the silver calmness of the night
In my lonely room no sound stirs, who knows that all evening in bed I am not sick and not even asleep?
A second is an hour an hour becomes a night, as I lie staring waiting for the sun to rise
Oh that I could be a hummingbird and fly so swiftly to your side In dream the most wonderful thing happens, for I am no more a hummingbird and she no more a pink rose. There is no more noon or night but always morning.
How I wish that one day the dream too is no more a dream.
Walking along the bank of Lake Washington
The breeze on the bank already blows cool and mild
The distant merging of lake and sky is but a red trace of sunset
The deep silence of the lake cuts off all tumult from me
Along the lonely bank I move with slow footsteps
Alone, the disturbed frogs scurry off
Here and there, are houses, cool beads of light spring out from them
A dazzling moon shines down from the lonely depths of the sky
In the moonlight I move slowly to a gung fu form
Body and soul are fused into one.
Who knows when meeting shall ever be.
It might be for years or
It might be forever.
Let us then take a lump of clay,
Wet it, pat it,
And make an image of you
And an image of me.
Then smash then, crash them,
And, with a little water,
Knead them together.
And out of the clay we'll remake
An image of you, and an image of me.
Thus in my clay, there's a little of you,
And in your clay, there's a little of me.
And nothing will ever set us apart.
Living, we'll be forever in each other's heart,
And dead, we'll be buried together.
Though the night was made for loving
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon.
And so the time flies hopefully
Although she’s far away.
Other thoughts may come and go,
But the thought of you,
Remains deeply in my heart.
Write a poem, and either keep it for yourself, or share it with someone. Or find a poem you like and read it aloud.
Take a moment and write down how much you love and are grateful for someone in your life, date it, and give that note or letter to that person. You can also share those sentiments in person.
Here are good resources for poetry and poetry recordings:
(Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week’s #AAHA is an email recommendation from Marcus Wang who writes:
Dear Shannon and Sharon,
I just wanted to let you know how much I’ve been enjoying your podcast - your thought-provoking discussions are a perfect accompaniment to my 3-hour daily drive.
I think it’s wonderful that you take the time to recognize Asian-Americans and Hapas who are making a difference in our world, and I’d like to introduce you to Derrick Wang, a charismatic young composer and attorney with degrees from Harvard, Yale and Maryland Law who has achieved renown in the world of opera - a rarity for an Asian-American. Derrick recently gave a TEDxBroadway talk:
Your podcast on harmony brought him to mind - Derrick’s recent acclaimed opera, “Scalia/Ginsburg,” focuses on the unlikely but genuine friendship between the ideologically opposed giants of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Antonin Scalia.
What I’ve always admired about Bruce Lee, and the work of the Bruce Lee Company, is the goal of uniting disparate peoples of the world regardless of color or creed, and “Scalia/Ginsburg” expresses that same message - that no matter how vast the gulf between us, we can always find a way to work together.
"Scalia/Ginsburg” was first introduced at the U.S. Supreme Court, published in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, and premiered at Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival to international attention from both the musical and legal worlds. It will next be presented by The Glimmerglass Festival in August 2017, in an updated version starring American tenor William Burden in the role of Scalia.
The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without first having seen Scalia/Ginsburg?”
I hope you enjoy reading about Derrick and his work. As an Asian-American and an American (and a proud brother), he’s a source of inspiration to me just as much as Bruce Lee has always been.
Warmest regards, Marcus
This week’s moment comes from Sarah in London: Hello Shannon and Sharon
I've been listening to your podcast for just over a month and wait with anticipation for each episode. Thank you so much for the thought that has gone into this podcast and the inspiration I receive from you each week.
There have been a couple of quotes and episodes that have really connected with me and perhaps you could call these my Bruce Lee moments. Earlier this year I lost my mother very suddenly to Pancreatic Cancer, I have also had some changes and major projects at work. I am usually a very resilient and balanced person, however with stress in both my personal and work life I at times felt very out of balance, broken, and without an anchor this year.
The seemingly simple quote of 'be water my friend' has really stayed with me since I heard that first episode. At work I have been challenged by several senior leaders due to a project I am leading, and at times those challenges felt very personal. I held your fathers words in my mind during those moments and at first I tried to be still and calm like water - however that made me feel stagnant and immobile, and a little like a punching bag, but then I remembered your father's words about water crashing and flowing, and have since focussed on not seeing people or things as obstacles but simply detours or interesting bends in the road. They are not obstacles to me and I will not batter myself against them but will flow around or over them. This has given me a sense of calm and strength.
Most recently the episode of 'the medicine for my suffering' has really stayed with me. Your story about your brother and your suffering is very real to me. I haven't yet put anything into action but I have had a mental and emotional shift. I have been holding on to the sadness, pain and shock of nursing my mother and then losing her, because that feels like such a strong connection to her and I do not want to lose that connection. However your story has made me realise that I can still stay connected but in a more positive way. I need to find a way to honour my mother, as you are honouring your father. And I need to find a way to carry the love I have for my mother with me, as you do with your brother. I'm not quite there yet but the doorway has opened thanks to your story, and your fathers words. I am now exploring what I can do to honour my mother and stay connected in a way that she would be proud of, rather than with sadness and loss. I am focussing on what I feel and think and looking inside of me for that medicine.
Thank you, Sarah Listening in from London