Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Why Should I Care?

Tao Yuan-Ming (372?-427), Living in the Country (tr. Yang Chi-sing):
At the foot of the south mountain I sow beans;
The weeds tangle them, the bean shoots are weak.
I rise early and scratch in the wilderness.
Under the moonlight I return with my hoe on my shoulder.
The footpath between the furrows so narrow, the grasses so long
That my clothes are moistened with dew.
Why should I care when my clothes are wet?
I only hope to make myself a hermit.
The same (tr. Burton Watson):
I planted beans at the foot of the southern mountain;
weeds flourished, but my bean shoots were few.
I get up at dawn, work to clear away the tangle;
wrapped in moonlight, I shoulder my hoe and come home.
The path is narrow, grass and trees tall;
the evening dew wets my clothes.
Wet clothes—they're not worth a worry,
just so my hopes aren't disappointed!

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