Sunday, May 13, 2012

Visiting Pai-an Pavilion

brown house finch with red head
   by Hsieh Ling-yun
translated by Sam Hamill

Beside this dike, I shake off the world's dust, 
enjoying walks alone near my brushwood house. 

A small stream gurgles down a rocky gorge. 
Mountains rise beyond the trees, 

kingfisher blue, almost beyond description, 
but reminding me of the fisherman's simple life. 

From a grassy bank, I listen 
as springtime fills my heart. 

Finches call and answer in the oaks. 
Deer cry out, then return to munching weeds. 

I remember men who knew a hundred sorrows, 
and the gratitude they felt for gifts. 

Joy and sorrow pass, each by each, 
failure at one moment, happy success the next. 

But not for me. I have chosen freedom 
from the world's cares. I chose simplicity.

from: Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese. Translation copyright 2000. 

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