from Not Bowing to Old Age by Kuan Han-ch’ing

Leonard Durso

You can knock out my teeth and break my jaw.
You can cripple my legs and rip off my arms:
let heaven lay all these curses on me,
and I still won’t stop.
Except old Yama, the king of Hell
comes to call on me himself (and brings his fiends to fetch me),
when my soul turns to dirt,
and my animal shell falls straight into Hell,
then, and only then, I’ll quit this flowered path
I ramble on.

translated by J.P. Seaton

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