Monday, September 24, 2018

two drinking songs


I built my hut near where people live
and yet I hear no traffic noise or sound of wheels.
Could you tell me what is happening?
An aloneness gathers around the soul that is alone.
I pick chrysanthemums underneath the east hedge,
the mountains to the south are clear.
The mountain air at sunset is so wonderful,
and the birds coming home, one after the other.
In all these details there are secret truths;
but when I try to shift to language, it all slops away.

Such a strong color on the late chrysanthemums!
The stalk sways stoutly, flower wet with dew, open.
Wandering drunk in this beauty, who cares about my sorrows.
I have left excitement behind, and what is not done.
Alone, I take a drink.
The bottle tilts by itself when the cup is empty.
When the sun goes down, all bustle stops,
and the birds on their return call from the leaves.
I walk around my study shouting and proud
because I can take up this life again.

~ Tao Yuan-Ming


brian said...

Thought I would pass along a synchronous occurrence related to to your blog. Yesterday afternoon I was sifting through a collection of Chinese poetry to find something to follow a few posts I have had on the contemporary Chinese poet, Ha Jin. Finally decided upon a Tao Yuan-Ming poem about Chrysanthemums (didn't post then, waiting until this evening as I tend to space my posts out every other day). So what a surprise when during lunch this afternoon I discovered your post! Mine will have a slightly different translation.



Dean Keller said...

thanks Brian, coincidentally I was just looking at your blog when your comment appeared.
Good to hear from you.