Go poem (ancient + modern)

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Happy New Year wishes for your GO in 2015 with two Baduk Poems (Korea).

Tks to 최치영 (Cho Echi-Young) for sharing following Korean poems from the book “Korean Classical Baduk Poems” (Korean Edition) which contains in total 50 poems (see list).

Personally I like to see the first poem of Yi Saek as a review of my first year in GO (having started on 26th January 2014)… I experienced timeless moments as described during long games of more than 2 hours and long reviews up to 5-6 hours all night long. – 2nd poem written by Yi Sung-in, a minister under the rulership of dynasty Koryeo might be seen symbolically for the new (Go) year 2015…. hopefully coming free of all distractions for interesting games, tournaments and easy Go studies.

(More (modern + ancient) Go poems you can find on this blog, pls see overview here.)

Yi Saek (1328~1396): A Day is Like a Year
(이 색 : 바둑을 두노라면 하루가 일 년 같아 )

Wen I play baduk, a day is like a year.
Who could know that winning and losing are such fun?
No one has the liberality of Tongshan.
When war came to his doorstep, he calmly played baduk.

Portrait of Yi Saek. National treasure 1215 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Portrait of Yi Saek. National treasure 1215 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Yi Saek (李穡, 1328 – 1396), also known as Mogeun, is a Korean writer and poet. His family belonged to the Hansan Yi clan. Yi Saek played a crucial role in the introduction and localisation of philosophy of Zhu Xi. He studied Neo-Confucianism in Yuan Dynasty China and opened an academy after his return to Goryeo, and from his academy the founders of Joseon Dynasty were educated.

Many of his disciples, such as Jeong Dojeon and Gwon Geun, used Neo-Confucian as the ideological basis for overthrowing Buddhist kingdom of Goryeo and establishing Confucian Joseon. However, Yi Saek himself remained loyal to the Goryeo dynasty and didn’t believe the wiping out of Buddhism, as Jeong Dojeon insisted, would be of any benefit. Yi Saek believed in the co-existence of the “Three Disciplines”: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Yi Saek resigned from all political positions after the founding of the Joseon Dynasty.

Not much is known about how he died, but some say that he was murdered while crossing a bridge. When he was offered the position of prime minister by Yi sung gye, Saek turned the offer down and told him that he could not serve two kings. Yi subsequently ordered his men to kill him if he was not able to cross the bridge in time, and if he does cross it in time, to let him go.

Yi Saek left various poetry, essays and letters compiled in The Collected Works of Mogeun. (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Yi Sung-in (1349~1392): Victory or Defeat Hangs on the Next Move
(이숭 : 인 승부가 다음 한 수에 달려 있어 )

We play baduk face to face beside the small window.
Rain drips desolately; blue mountains grow dim.
Victory or defeat hangs on the next move;
I push away all distracting thoughts and lose myself in reflection.

I have not found one single English source with a short biography about Yi Sung-in. It seems he was a minister in times of the 14th century till the end of the dynasty Koryeo which was founded in 918 and replaced Silla as the ruling dynasty of Korea.
“Goryeo” is a short form of “Goguryeo” and the source of the English name “Korea”. The Korean dynasty was established in 918 by King Taejo and lasted until 1392, the year Yi Sung-in died. – This kingdom later gave name to the modern exonym for Korea. It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the leader of the Joseon dynasty in 1392. The Goryeo dynasty expanded its borders to present-day Wonsan in the north-east (936–943) and the Amnok River (993) and finally almost the whole of the Korean peninsula (1374) – (Source: Wikipedia.org)

If you want buy this book, order the Korean / English edition with following ISBN numbers:

ISBN 10-8996527025
ISBN 13-9788996527022


All 50 poems…

01 Yi Kyubo – A Single Lamp by the Bamboo Window
02 Kim Shisup- A Hundred Years
03 So Kojong- A Visiting Monk Insists on a Game of Baduk
04 Ho Ch’ohui- Flying to Heaven’s Pond in the Setting Sun
05 Chong Tojon- Your Laugh
06 Kim Sakkat- The Clink of Baduk Stones
07 Shin Sukju- Are You Drunk or Sober?
08 Kwak Che’u- Let’s Gallop to the Baduk Hall
09 Sosan the Great Priest- Where Have the Baduk Players Gone?
10 So Kyongdok- Perfect Joy
11 So Kojong- Who Made the Axe Helve Rot?
12 Kim Shisup- Sitting Alone in the Twilight
13 Won Chonsok- Playing Baduk in the Shade of the Pine
14 Yi I Recounting- Thousand Year Old Stories
15 Ki Taesung- We Laugh to our Hearts’ Content
16 Chong P’o- Shall I Make a Baduk Bet?
17 Yi Saek- A Day is Like a Year
18 Yi Chom- Immortals Playing Baduk
19 Chong Yag’yong- Time Goes, Time Comes
20 Nam Hyo’on- Autumn Mountains are Red
21 So Kojong- I spend the Day Playing Baduk
22 Kim Shisup- A Lone Kingfisher Flies Off
23 Hwang Hyon- Different Styles of Baduk
24 Cho Uk- The Baduk is Over: Who Won, Who Lost?
25 Ho Ch’im- Don’t Boast About High Office
26 Im ongnyong- All Changes Are like a Game of Baduk
27 Yi Sokhyong – Ten Million Stratagems
28 Yi Sungin – Victory or Defeat Hangs on the Next Move
29 Yi Sungso – Shall We Play Baduk?
30 Yu Huich’un – Playing Baduk in the Orange Grove
31 So Kojong – Children Learning Baduk
32 Kim Shisup – Birds Enjoy the Day After the Rain
33 Yi Chip – Moonlight is Dreary Where He Played Baduk
34 Yi Saek – The Strong Swallow, the Weak Vomit
35 Yi Kyubo – I Play Baduk in the Bamboo Grove
36 Kim Chonghui – Life in Cheju Has Been Tough
37 Kim An’guk – The Komun’go Sounds Best in Moonlight
38 Kim Chongjik – Baduk is Like Embroidery
39 Pak Illyang – Under the Bamboo Monks Play Baduk
40 Kim Sep’il – How Many Aeons Go By?
41 Kim Shisup – The Wind Is in the Bamboo Grove
42 Yi Sokhyong – Vying for Victory
43 Yun Sun – Pine, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum
44 Pak uijung – Immortals Play
45 So Kojong – Baduk Stones Echo
46 So Kojong – You Fought Like A Dragon
47 So Kojong – Let’s Write Poems on Lotus Leaves
48 So Kojong – The Temple Is Quiet
49 Chong Saryong – Willows Girdle the River
50 Kim Sangdok – The Secret Sounds of the Paulownia

( Rec.: Amazon has listed the Koeran edition. There it seems out of stock for now. Yet it is listed on South Korean’s web portal Daumn for sales at a prize of 10,800 South Korean Won (KRW) = 8.14 Euro / 9.9 US Dollars plus shipment/transportation costs.)


Go poems (ancient + modern): lyrics from a Go lover’s song…

I am just reading the book “[Killer of GO – Technique and Preventative Measures][1]”, written by [Sakata Eio][2] (Honorary Honinbo, 1920-2010) in 1967.
This book was was published / tranlated into ENG in 1994 by Yutopian Enterprises (USA). – The book is out of print.

In the last chapter “(3) Welcome! The Killer of GO” (page 217-219) the editor Mihori Masa (veteran Go writer) addressed nice lyrics from a Go lover’s song – from olden times. It goes like this:

“If taking stones rules your heart,
unreasoning gulps, wash one to defeat; so much is known.

Discarding Stones with the strategy to play elsewhere
that art will readily triumph.

Know to add the profit, subtract the loss,
ever always avoid the clumsy capture of stones.”

(PS: The book is available in digital form from [SmartGo Books][3]. If you should have some money in reserves, [Amazon][4] is offering it in the category “used books” at the prize of CDN$ 538.94)

[1]: http://senseis.xmp.net/?KillerOfGo
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eio_Sakata
[3]: http://gobooks.com/books-by-category.html#outofprint
[4]: http://www.amazon.ca/Killer-go-technique-preventative-measures/dp/0964184702

Go poems (ancient + modern): Spanish Go poem by Jorge Luis Borges

Go poem in the original Spanish with an English translation.


El Go

Hoy, 9 de septiembre de 1978,
tuve en la palma de mi mano un pequeño disco
de los trescientos sesenta y uno que se requieren
para el juego astrológico del Go,
ese otro ajedrez de Oriente.
Es más antiguo que la más antigua escritura
y el tablero es un mapa del universo.
Sus variaciones negras y blancas
agotarán el tiempo;
en él pueden perderse los hombres
como en el amor o en el día.
Hoy, 9 de septiembre de 1978,
yo, que soy ignorante de tantas cosas,
sé que ignoro una más,
y agradezco a mis númenes
esta revelación de laberintos
que ya no exploraré…

poet: Jorge Luis Borges


El Go

Today, September 9th, 1978,
I had in the palm of my hand a small disk;
just one of the three hundred sixty-one needed
to play the astrological game of Go,
that other chess from the Orient.
It is older than the oldest writing
and the board is a map of the universe.
its variations of black and white.
Just as in love or in the passing of the day,
men can lose themselves in this game.
Today, September 9th, 1978,
I, who am ignorant of so many things,
know that I am ignorant of one more,
and I thank my numina
for revealing these labyrinths
that I shall no longer explore.

translated by Brian J. Olive

(Source: Sensei’s Library – http://senseis.xmp.net/?ElGo)

Go poems (ancient + modern): Liao Zhai Zhi Yi” (Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio)

Referring the emperor Guang Yi exist many stories about. He seemed so busy with GO that he hardly had any time left for his concubines. Some stories even made their way into the literature.

For example, [Pu SongLing][1] wrote in “Liao Zhai Zhi Yi” ([Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio][2]) that there was a ghost who loved Go so much that he lost his life over it. One day, the ghost couldnt find any body to play Go with in Hell, so he decided to look for a Go partner among the living. As soon as he started the game, he couldnt stop playing. When the morning came, this ghost was arrested by the Hell guards and as a punishment, he was thrown into the 18th Hell, with no chance for reincarnation. This ghost loved Go so much that he lost his life.

Pu wrote a poem in Liao Zhai Zhi Yi to record this incident:

For him who spent all day on one game of Go.
For him who neglected his daily job.
Dont feel sorry for him who gave up his life over a hobby.
His fate was decided before his game was.

(Source: [Weiqui Stories][3])

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pu_Songling
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Stories_from_a_Chinese_Studio
[3]: http://www.yutopian.com/go/gowinds/gostor1.html

Go poems (ancient + modern): Shao Yong’s “Great Chant on Observing Weiqi” (an Archetype of Neo-Confusian Poetry)

Shao Yong’s “Great Chant on Observing Weiqi” (an Archetype of Neo-Confusian Poetry)

Shao Yong (1011-77), one of the founders of Neo-Confucianism, was also a learned historian and prolific poet. His poem “Great Chant on Observing Weiqi,” totaling 360 lines and 1,800 characters, is one of the longest poems in pre-modern China. It is in fact 15 characters longer than “Peacock Flies Southeast,” which has widely been considered the longest. The significance of Shao Yong’s poem, however, goes far beyond the number of its lines and characters. It employs weiqi as a metaphor for cognition and is an exemplar of Shao’s three-step epistemological mode: one proceeds from visual perception to rational contemplation, and finally to the third stage of analytical comprehension. Structurally, this poem can be divided into three parts, or three levels of observation. It begins with a description of the emotional intensity and unpredictability involved in weiqi games. The major body of the poem is devoted to the contemplation of patterns of history as weiqi analogies. The poem concludes with the poet’s view of Principle implicit within the cosmic games, identifying the modes of change drawn from both weiqi activities and the historical events previously observed. Shao Yong’s “Great Chant on Observing Weiqi” demonstrates his ability to combine historical complexity, philosophical sophistication, and aesthetic accessibility, which in turn attests to the importance of this weiqi poem as an archetype that Shao Yong created for Neo-Confucian Poetry. (Source: Zu-yan Chen, Binghamton University – CHINA & INNER ASIA SESSION 171 / AAS Annual Meeting, 6th-9th April 2006, San Francisco)


P.S.: I am still seaching for an English translation of this poem (so fare possible). If anybody knows a source, pls post the link. Tks in advance.

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