Idea!: Four-word poems!

Idea!: Four-word poems!
An old Chinese tradition.
Easier, faster than haiku.
To carve on rocks.
To write on doorjambs.
To write on thresholds.
To tatoo on arms.
Anybody can write one.
Form takes no time.
"Father Sky Mother Earth"
"Raid kills bugs dead"–Lew Welch
"Beyond mountains more mountains"–Lazy Old Man, my father
"Across rivers more rivers"–Old Idle Man, my father
Father gone Rabbit moon.
Giant anthuria Mother's Day
Sun beams me love.
Redwood tree one seed.
Strawberry Creek be free.
All rivers be free.

The oldest prayer is a four-word poem:

                              "May all beings be happy."

Well, that's sayable in four words in Chinese.

                              "All beings be happy."
                              "All beings be peaceful."
                              All beings be kind.
                              "All beings be free."

That line about being kind, I made up. A very American four-word poem. Kindness takes going into action.

                              They sing, they're happy.
                              We eat our fortune.
                              Time can. Idea can.
                              Infinity ribbon circles all.

      And there is such a thing as a two-word poem! And five- and seven-word poems. And the ultimate: the one-word poem! "Fook!" "Shou" Oh, to say it all at once–one resounding word.
      My father named me Ting Ting after the four-word poem: "Ting ting doak lup" ("Standing alone as a mountain peak"). Those sounds are pleasant to the Say Yup Chinese ear. Lone travelers–monks, ghosts, lovers, free and independent spirits, poets–meet at the pavilion under the lone pine upon the hill. Stop, listen, burn offerings in the ting.

Maxine Hong Kingston, To Be the Poet, Harvard University Press, 2002.