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On 80th Birthday__SL Kong (53)

            On 80th Birthday 

Today is my birthday I’m eighty
I think of my Mom giving me birth a deed mighty
It was at a time of war and sorrow
Everyday Mom said was a day borrowed
There’s the usual jubilation of a new-born to the family
The hardship of bringing me up in scarcity was not a worry

The eighty years of my experience were quite extraordinary
Wars deaths dislocation and change required adjustments many
We lived through threats struggle and hope supported by sheer ingenuity
Under my parents’ protective wings I had luck and freedom plenty
I learned more from practical challenges than schools which was intermittent
My aspiration and achievement carry the Chinese cultural imprints incessant

Venturing to the unknown had been experiences exhilarating
Like catching a fish in a running stream by hand a chance fleeting
Like learning to tame a calf for riding an enjoyment so exciting
Like mastering reading and writing a process mind-opening
Like grasping math concepts a struggle that must not be yielding
Like going abroad to study facing so much novelty that is testing
Like leaving the motherland watching its cultural destruction so disheartening
Like growing old and feeling unsure a life condition so unexpecting 

Mother had gone thru much satisfaction and despair with her belief in doing good
In the end she resolved that life is but one’s own making to promote a larger good
Our family had seen floods drought and the sudden seizure of all accumulations
The only way to triumph against the atrocities is to rebuild life in a new location
I dreamed of my Mom last night wishing me a happy birthday
She told me of her satisfaction having me despite difficulties in stupendous ways
When I asked her of her secrets to serenity and longevity
She laughed aloud and told me to live honestly and enjoy beauty with no worry 

I remember my Mom taught me when I was eleven living in the village
Do work with your energy frequently it will give you continuing mileage
Seventy years of practice is enough to attest the truth of Mom’s wisdom
As I find myself busy today with jobs large and small impacting my bosom
My daily schedule begins with jogging and greeting people on the way
Then visiting the market to purchase fresh food best buy of the day
The times remaining is for reading and resting with music and beauties around
The twilight hours are for writing and reviewing memories abound 

I visited my cardio doctor yesterday to enquire about my heart condition
Results of techno-imaging enabled him to joke that I’d live on with no question
‘Tis not often that doctors joke about a patient’s health probabilities
But jokes often provoke thoughts and questions more than factual reality
So in part-two of my dream I asked Mom what it was like to live long
She told me to continue to work and play until no more steam comes along 

It finally dawns on me that energy is different with human will nicknamed steam
Physical energy do things while the willful mind powers life seen and unseen
My Mom had cancer in the abdomen when she was ninety-six
She continued to help with family chores for years until she felt too sick
When it was time for her to die she asked how to find her way after death
Receiving a good answer she turned off steam and went without breath
I will continue to practise Mom’s teaching for my remaining years
When my time comes I shall go in peace as she had in her 104th year

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