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Sunday, July 17, 2016

When the Heart is Remote (T'ao Yuan-ming)

Another great poem from T'ao Yuan-ming ...

Building my house
On the outskirts of town
Yet no noisy traffic bothers me
You wonder how this can be
When the heart is remote
The world leans the same way
When picking mums
Along the eastern fence
I gaze up at the eastern ranges
At my leisure
Day and night
The mountain air so clear
And when the birds fly
Home in their flock
In their midst
I see a true ideal
Though in expressing it
Words fail me


This verse is part of a longer series of poems called Drinking Wine.  But I think it stands on its own quite beautifully.  The way T'ao describes his hut on the outskirts of town reminds me a bit of my own backyard, just a few blocks from a major roadway, and yet now, when the garden is in full bloom, it feels a world removed.  And I just love that couplet - when the heart is remote/the world leans the same way.   

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