One day while shopping in the market
I was asked to name a natural product

Unaware, I kept my helpless silence
Not a word I had in defense

And then a voice spoke in reprimand
It sounded soft but not far from command

“You are versed in the world of thought
You know to quote well from the wise lot

You seem to know too much
But from simple names you’re out of touch

You poets speak of the rose and nightingale
Yet not a flower’s name in the garden can you hail

You wander in the valleys of heavenly thoughts
Pity! You are dry from the waters of the spring of life

Ignorant of the affairs of the earth on which you walk
Your heart is turned to the world full of vain talk

Jaihoon! I am a simple-minded slave of God
Who on the clouds of wisdom have not rode
Yet I know the names of every eatable fruit
For which many thanks for the God I have got.”

Dec 10 2004. Based on an experience at a shopping mall.


a natural product : a fruit. In the eyes of present commercial culture, every thing- natural or otherwise, is considered a product.

wise lot: the learned ones

rose and nightingale: commonly used symbols especially by mystic poets

affairs of the earth: day-to-day realities of practical life.