Being Humorous

Yutang Lin

Being humorous lies in being implicit
Mention only the heads of threads, and leave the imagination to the listeners
    Stop short at the middle line, so one may move forward or backward

All details explicitly presented
    Refined subtleties inadvertently missed
As expressions overly piled up
    Tastes and interests were much reduced

Dharma teaches the middle path
Wouldn't that also be the art of living

Feet buried too deep
    Even with wings embedded could not fly away
Dragon flies touched only lightly the surface of water
    Ripples bloomed along its path

Humorous words loosened countenances
    And let smiles blossom brightly
Unspoken intentions hidden in understatements
    Compelled listeners to reflect and ponder
    And then broke into happy and appreciative chortling

In this human life of much suffering and few happy moments
May humorous flowers bloom here and there
    So as to ease gently the pain and suffering

Written in Chinese and translated on November 18, 2007
El Cerrito, California

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