Monday, April 12, 2010


Speeding Downhill

Po Chü-i (772–846), Spring Outing (tr. Burton Watson):
I mount my horse, ready to go out the gate;
out the gate, pause in uncertainty,
turn my head to speak to my wife,
sure she must be puzzled by all these spring outings.
I know I go on a lot of spring outings,
but what can an old fellow do,
when the ruddy face of youth is fading, fading,
and white hairs continue and continue to appear?
You have ten fingers—use them,
tally up my friends for me.
Say age one hundred is the outside limit—
how many make it into their seventh decade?
Now I am sixty-five
and speeding downhill like a wheel on a slope.
Supposing I should last to seventy,
that leaves me only five springs more.
Faced with spring, not to go out and enjoy it,
one would have to be a fool!


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