This poem comes from Lu Ji’s famous work, The Art of Writing (Wen Fu, 文賦). According to Wikipedia, it has been called a “hymn of praise for the craft and art of writing and a specific, prescriptive handbook for the writer.” The essay reveals, as the Fu form is set up to do, the kinds of inner processes all writers have to go through to prepare for the creative act of writing.
This philosophical work consists of 21 verses of “rhyme-prose” poems that describe a writer’s mind as wandering through a kind of mini-universe within our own bodies in search of the elements which form the origins of our literary work.
I picked up The Art of Writing, Teachings of the Chinese Masters at a used bookstore in town, but you can get your copy on Amazon.com. This slim, 94 page volume of essays is worth adding to your library of writing books, especially if you are interested in the “whimsy, spontaneity and contradiction” of Taoism and the Taoist writers.