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THOUGHTS FOR MY SON ZIYU WHILE READING ON A WINTER NIGHT
by Lu Yu (1125 - 1210, Song Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Those in the past spared no effort
when it comes to learning,
Hard work during youth will
see no attainment until the old ages;
Knowledge acquired on paper
ultimately seems shallow still,
To thoroughly understand this,
one must personally experience it all.

── from Jiannan Shigao (Collation and Annotation on Jian Nan Poetry Drafts)


TOMORROW
by Wen Jia (1501 - 1583, Ming Dynasty)

English translation: Miao Guang

One tomorrow after another,
There are so many tomorrows.
Waiting each day for a tomorrow,
All of today shall go to waste.

We are all burdened by tomorrow,
Unaware of nearing old age when deluded by endless tomorrows.

Rolling waves flow eastwards at dusk and dawn,
The sun falls westward at the end of a long leisurely today.
How many tomorrows do we get in life?
Please hear this song of tomorrow by me.


TODAY

One today after another,
There are so few todays.
Yet another today with matter left undone,
When shall it ever come to an end?

How many todays will we ever have in life?
Leaving things undone today is truly a waste.
To say that it can wait tomorrow,
But tomorrow: other things to do.
For you this poem is composed;
Do begin your efforts from today.

── from Wenshi Wujia Ji (Collected Works by Five Masters of the Wen Family)