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Monday, October 19, 2015

Song for an Idle Moment - trans. of a poem by Bai Juyi

You know the phrase field of dreams from a novel of the same name by A.P. Kinsella?  Well lately Tang poetry has started to assume the dimensions of a field of dreams for me.  What do I mean by that?  You see, I'm in the process of trying to reestablish the habit of translating a Tang poem every morning -- just what the doctor ordered -- and somehow, at least the way it's worked out so far, over the course of the last few weeks, more often than not, that I have stumbled upon a poem that is perfectly suited to my mood on the occasion.

This is the poem I came across this morning by Bai Juyi. Don't be misled by the title of it.  I find this to be a poem of surprising depth...


Song for an Idle Moment

Taking a stroll in the bright
And merciful light of the moon
Along the rows of sleeping pines
How much I love their shade

While the poems of our early years
Tend to dwell much on hardship
As evening descends we discover
Access to more clarity and depth

It’s only then that we come to study
And meditate at great length
It’s in autumn that we find
A flurry of new reasons to sing

Only if we can stay unhurried and
Alive to everything around us
Nowhere more certain of it than
In the center of our being

*  *  *  *  *



步月怜清景    眠松爱绿阴
早年诗思苦    晚岁道情深
夜学禅多坐    秋牵兴暂吟
悠然两事外    无处更留心

*  *  *  *  *

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