Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Minute Meditation

Some ride in palanquins
Some bear palanquins:
Some weave sandals
For palanquin bearers

                   -- Anon --
from Japanese Proverbs

It seems to me that the poem refers to three classes of society: those supported by society, those who support society, and those who accommodate the supporters.

"A palanquin is a covered litter, usually for one passenger. It is carried by an even number of bearers (between two and eight, but most commonly four) on their shoulders, by means of a pole projecting fore and aft. The word is derived from the Sanskrit palyanka, meaning bed or couch."
-- Wikipedia Definition --


  1. Everyone follows someone; everyone leads someone; no one is more or less significant than anyone else. Thanks for making me think.

    1. Tim,

      Yes, even those who ride in palanquins are dependent upon the bearers.

  2. back to my youth and reading King Arthur tales: the lily maid of Astolat, riding on a palanquin which was on a horse, i thought then, anyway... wearing a sheer white silk dress with one of those long pointy hats with the veil trailing off behind... ah the memories of youth...

    1. Mudpuddle,

      It's strange the way some things suddenly bring back old memories.

  3. HI Fred: I was going to say largely what Tim did. Each is mutually supported. The ones riding in the palanquin provide employment for the bearers. The bearers have no less dignity than the riders and of course the bearers provide employment for the sandal bearers.

    I don't know the intent of the writer of the poem, but for some reason our modern day culture wants to assume that one is superior or better than the other.

    There's no shame in bearing others or any employment. All are necessary for society to function.

    1. Sharon,

      The treatment of the three certainly doesn't suggest any sense of superiority. All three are brought up in plain neutral language, so the poet seems to imply some equality among them.