Returning To My Retreat by Ch’en T’uan

Through the red dust I tramped for ten years
green mountains though were often in my dreams
a purple cord brings fame but can’t compare to sleep
crimson gates are grand but having less is better
how sad to hear swords guarding a feeble lord
how depressing the songs of noisy drunks
I’m taking my old books back to my retreat
to wildflowers and birdsongs and the same old spring

translated by Red Pine

6 thoughts on “Returning To My Retreat by Ch’en T’uan

  1. “I’m taking my old books back”
    I was just yesterday, talking with an old friend about the number of books we lent that we have never had returned. I wish I had all my old books back. What a great line.

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