Monday, November 25, 2013


No More Than Weeds or Chaff

Poem by Fu Xuan (217-278), tr. by Arthur Waley in A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1919), p. 93:
A gentle wind fans the calm night:
A bright moon shines on the high tower.
A voice whispers, but no one answers when I call:
A shadow stirs, but no one comes when I beckon,
The kitchen-man brings in a dish of lentils:
Wine is there, but I do not fill my cup.
Contentment with poverty is Fortune's best gift:
Riches and Honour are the handmaids of Disaster.
Though gold and gems by the world are sought and prized,
To me they seem no more than weeds or chaff.

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