Monday, May 11, 2015

A Thousand Feet

It might make one wonder to know the Chinese Garden has a “Thousand-Foot Bridge;” after all that would be longer than three American football fields!

The name of our bridge comes not from its actual length, but from its power to connect us to faraway places. It was named to represent the friendship with Kaifeng, the sister city of Wichita, and after a poem by Li Bai entitled “Farewell My Friend Wang Lun.”

For so the story goes: “One day, Li Bai goes on abroad. He is about to sail when there’s stamping and singing on shore. Oh! Here comes Wang Lun to see him off, who is Li Bai’s best friend. Li Bai is very excited to see his best friend at this leaving moment. But he is sad, too. So he can’t say a simple sentence. He knows that words can’t express their friendship. Although the Peach Blossom Pool is one thousand feet deep, it can’t match Wang Lun’s love for him.”

“I, Li Bai, sit aboard a ship about to go
When suddenly on shore your farewell songs overflow.
However deep the Lake of Peach Blossom may be,
It’s not so deep, O Wang Lun! as your love for me.”

*Translation courtesy of Jin Tang, Chinese Garden of Friendship Committee Member