The tweet, posted Tuesday by the world’s richest man, was titled “Humankind,” followed by the poem in Chinese. Known as the “Quatrain of Seven Steps,” the allegorical poem is often attributed to Cao Zhi, a member of Chinese royalty who lived between 192 and 232. Legend goes that Cao’s older brother, freshly crowned king and suspicious his more popular brother is trying to usurp his rule, forced him to produce a poem that would proclaim his innocence.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 1635811972000
Translated, the poem reads:
“Beanstalks are ignited to boil beans
The beans in the pot cry out
We are born of the same root
Why should we incinerate each other with such impatience?”
Some online commentators pointed to the rivalry between cryptocurrencies Dogecoin and Shiba Inu to explain the tweet from Musk, who frequently advocates for Dogecoin on social media. The newer Shiba Inu token — another meme coin that appears to have been inspired by its canine-themed cousin — has overtaken Dogecoin in market value, and proponents of the tokens have been sniping at each other about the situation.
While Musk’s intention in tweeting the poem isn’t clear, his Twitter feed contains an eclectic mix of crypto memes, links to Monty Python sketches and updates on Tesla Inc’s self-driving software and SpaceX launches.
In China, Tesla has been bouncing back from a run of bad publicity earlier this year that included consumer complaints, crashes and regulatory scrutiny of safety and customer service issues. In September, shipments of China-made Teslas to the local market rose for a second straight month even as general auto sales declined.