TO QIWU QIAN BOUND HOME AFTER FAILING IN AN EXAMINATION
In a happy reign there should be no hermits;
The wise and able should consult together….
So youa man of the eastern mountains
Gave up your life of picking herbs
And came all the way to the Gate of Gold —
But you found your devotion unavailing.
…To spend the Day of No Fire on one of the southern rivers
You have mended your spring clothes here in these northern cities.
I pour you the farewell wine as you set out from the capital —
Soon I shall be left behind here by my bosomfriend.
In your sail-boat of sweet cinnamon-wood
You will float again toward your own thatch door
Led along by distant trees
To a sunset shining on a far-away town.
…What though your purpose happened to fail
Doubt not that some of us can hear high music.
I dismount from my horse and I offer you wine
And I ask you where you are going and why.
And you answer: “I am discontent
And would rest at the foot of the southern mountain.
So give me leave and ask me no questions.
White clouds pass there without end.”
A GREEN STREAM
I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers
Borne by the channel of a green stream
Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains
On a journey of less than thirty miles….
Rapids hum over heaped rocks;
But where light grows dim in the thick pines
The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns
And weeds are lush along the banks.
…Down in my heart I have always been as pure
As this limpid water is….
Ohto remain on a broad flat rock
And to cast a fishing-line forever!
A FARM-HOUSE ON THE WEI RIVER
In the slant of the sun on the country-side
Cattle and sheep trail home along the lane;
And a rugged old man in a thatch door
Leans on a staff and thinks of his sonthe herdboy.
There are whirring pheasants? full wheat-ears
Silk-worms asleeppared mulberry-leaves.
And the farmersreturning with hoes on their shoulders
Hail one another familiarly.
…No wonder I long for the simple life
And am sighing the old songOhto go Back Again!