Poems by T'ao Ch'ien (also known as Tao Yuanming A.D. 365 - 427)
Returning to Live in the Country
In my youth I was out of tune with the common folk:
My nature is to love hills and mountains.
In my folly I fell into the net of the world's dust,
And so went on for thirty years.
The caged bird longs for its old woodland;
The pond-reared fish yearns for its native stream.
I have opened up a waste plot of the south moor,
And keeping my simplicity returned to garden and field.
A homestead of some ten acres,
A thatched cottage with eight or nine rooms;
Elms and willows shading the hinder eaves;
Peach and plum trees ranking before the hall.
Dim, dim is the distant hamlet;
Lagging, lagging hangs the smoke of the market-town;
A dog barks in the deep lane;
A cock crows on the top of the mulberry tree.
My door and courtyard have no dust and turmoil;
In the bare rooms there is leisure to spare.
Too long a captive in a cage,
I have now come back to Nature.
Drinking Wine, V
I built my hut amid the throng of men,
But there is no din of carriages or horses.
You ask me how this can be.
When the heart is remote, earth stands aloof.
Culling chrysanthemums by the eastern hedge,
I see afar the southern hills;
The air of the hills at sunset is good;
The flying birds in company come back to their nests.
In this is the real savour,
But, probing, I can find no words.