Saturday, 12 December 2020

I could’t want another life - Tao Yuanming

I could’t want another life. This is my
true calling, working fields and mulberries

with my own two hands. I’ve never failed it,
and still, against hunger and cold, there’s

only hull and chaff I’m not asking for more
than a full stomach. All I want is enough

common rice, heavy clothes for winter and
open-weaves for the summer heat-nothing

more. But I haven’t even managed that. O,
it can leave you stricken so with grief.

And character is fate. If you’re simple-
minded in life, its ways elude you. That’s

how it is. Nothing can change it. But then,
I’ll delight in even a single cup of wine.

Tao Yuanming [Tao Qian (Hanyu Pinyin) or T'ao Ch'ien (Wade-Giles)] (365 - 427) China
Translated by David Hinton

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