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Monday, December 18, 2017

My Body - a poem about aging by Bai Juyi

My body such as it is
My one and only  
Seems a bit disheveled
Now that autumn frosts
Have beset my hair
Or worse yet as roots
Begin to yield their ground
Vast are the changes
From long custom
And usage

In times past
I roamed freely like
The Qin emperor
In harmony betwixt
And between
But these days
In a fallen state
I feel much more
Like a barbarian
In times past
I had the insight and vigor
Of a senior minister
But these days
I’m just a lonely old man

Yet even as I’ve grown
Quiet and pensive
My thoughts still incline
To rush ahead in 
Search of harmony
The poems of my life have
Acquired even greater depth
By entrusting the heart
To carry out its task while
Passing through hardship

Surmounting all obstacles
Like the mighty bird Peng 
Who raises its powerful wings and
Ascends to the blue dome of Heaven
Not like some poor little sparrow
Content to sit meekly on a branch

If you want to know
The truth of it
Weak as the body is
The heart remains
Boundless and vast



我身何所似     似彼孤生蓬
秋霜剪根断     浩浩随长风
昔游秦雍     今落巴蛮中
意气郎     今作寂寥翁
外貌寂寞     怀冲融
命有厚薄     委心任
通当     翅摩
穷则为鹪鹩     一枝足自容
苟知此道者     心不

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