RETURNING TO THE FIELDS (EXCERPT)
by Tao Qian (365 - 427, Jin Dynasty)
English translation: Zhi Yue
Planting beans at the foot of Mount Nan,
Weeds are many, but bean shoots are few.
I rise in the morning, to tend to the weeds,
The moon sees me home, shouldering a hoe.
The path is narrow, overgrown with grass,
The evening dew soaks my clothes.
Wet clothes, I am bothered not,
For as long as I have my will.
ON DRINKING WINE (EXCERPT)
My home, I build in the world of men,
But sounds of horse and carriage are none;
Ask me how this quiet is achieved?
A detached mind keeps my place alone.
Plucking chrysanthemums under the Eastern hedge,
I rest my gaze upon Mount Nan;
The mountain air, lovely at sunset,
The birds flock homeward to their nests.
In this, a true meaning revealed,
But words fail me, if I try to tell you.
MISCELLANEOUS POEMS (EXCERPT)
Life is without roots,
drifting like road dust;
Scattered by the wind,
this already a temporary life.
We set foot on the earth as brothers,
must we be related by blood?
Be cheerful on joyful occasions,
gather neighbors when there’s wine.
For youth once gone, never returns,
just as a day only dawns once.
Make an effort without delay,
for time does not wait for anyone.
Returning home! Shall I be held back by my fields overgrown with weeds? Since I have already suffered my heart, what can be gained from regret and sorrow?
Though too late to change the past, there’s still time to shape the days to come.
Not having strayed too far, I find the rightness of my decisions now, having made mistakes yesterday.
── from Tao Yuanming Ji (Complete Works of Tao Yuanming)