Perched in silence,
we listened to the whisper
of these unnamed mountains.
Altars of solitude,
hidden treasure of the South,
an austere paradise
only known to condors
and pagan gods.
Long ago, in far away lands,
I grew up admiring the stars,
dreaming of distant mountains
and smelling the fresh grass.
In the crisp winter sky,
Centaurus shone proud and high,
and in lazy warm summer days
benteveos sang to the Sun.
One day I left for the north,
who knows looking for what,
now the childhood world already lost,
my old birds and stars will not come back.
I sit prisoner of space time,
with these memories warming my heart,
under a new gentle Sun
in these new here and now.
after the mists of dawn finally vanish away
a benign sun now warms my heart
and unploughed fields lie open ahead of me
sitting at last in sovereign possession of myself
there is no more fear or confusion
there is no more treading on thin ice
and although midday has already passed for me
there are seeds to be sown
there are crops awaiting my tender care
desiring nothing more than enough
I gladly face what time is left of my day
I will calmly endure, working my fields
until the last darkness embraces me
Under a gentle sun
tree leaves flicker in the breeze,
lone clouds mirror in a silent pond,
distant hills vanish in the haze.
Timelessness amidst impermanence,
a bright serenity,
a calm understanding,
and there is no more toil or struggle,
Content with whom I am,
for a moment, I share mind with ancient sages
for a moment, wherever I am
the sun shines upon my inner garden.
(inspired by many ancient sages)
Young, I was always free of common feeling.
It was in my nature to love the hills and mountains.
Mindlessly I got caught in the dust-filled trap.
Waking up, thirteen years had gone.
A caged bird wants the old trees and air.
A fish in a pool misses the ancient stream.
I plough the earth at the edge of South Mountain.
Keeping life simple, return to my fields and garden.
My place is hardly more than a few fields.
My house has a few small rooms.
Elm-trees and Willows shade the back.
Plum-trees and Peach-trees reach the door.
Misted, misted the distant village.
Drifting, the soft swirls of smoke.
Somewhere a dog barks deep in the winding lanes.
A cockerel crows from the top of the mulberry tree.
No heat and dust behind my closed gates.
My bare rooms are filled with space and silence.
Too long a prisoner, captive in a cage,
Now I get back again to Nature.
T’ao Yuan-Ming (365 – 427)
(Translation by A.S. Kline, http://www.poetryintranslation.com/)