Here’s my translation of another poem by the Ming artist Tang Yin. I’m just beginning to read his poems and I find myself once again falling under the spell of Chinese poetry. What a wonderful spell it is.
Tang Yin is the real deal as a great Tang poet, except that he lived about 900 years too late to be considered among their dynastic rank. He falls into the category of what I like to call the Later Day Tang Poets, in that he writes imbued with the spirit of Tang but, at least in Tang Yin’s case, from a much more modern (or more accurately, a pre-modern) point of view. It’s a bit like feeling young at heart but in an older person’s body - which is perhaps a good introduction to this untitled poem, by a great Later Day Tang Poet, Tang Yin, about being middle aged.
Untitled - by Tang Yin
To remain sleeping without relish
In middle age the mood’s gone missing
Most of us wake up to the rooster’s cry
Without thought of pursuing fortune or fame
It might help you better appreciate this poem if I explain the reference to pursuing fortune and fame in the last line. This is considered to be the Confucian ideal. But that was not Tang Yin’s path, as I’ll further explain in a subsequent post. He came from the school of roustabout Later Day Tang Poets, in the company of such kindred spirits as Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder.