Friday, November 12, 2010

T'ao Ch'ien

Returning to Live in the Country II

I always loved to walk the woods and mountains,

Pleased myself, lost in fields and marshes.

Now I go out with nephews, nieces,

In the wilds, parting hazel branches,

Back and forth through the mounds and hollows,

All around us signs of ancient peoples,

Remnants of their broken hearths and well-heads,

Mulberry and bamboo groves neglected.

Stop and ask the simple woodsman,

‘Where have all these people gone now?’

Turning he looks quietly and tells me,

‘Nothing’s left of them, they’re finished.’

One world. Though the lives we lead are different,

In courts of power or labouring in the market,

These I know are more than empty words:

Our life’s a play of light and shade,

Returning at last to the Void.

No comments: