I’m a Frightened Monkey Who’s Reached the Forest by Su Tung-p’o

Leonard Durso

I’m a frightened monkey who’s reached the forest,
a tired horse unharnessed at last,
my mind a void to fill with new thoughts;
surroundings are old to me–I see them in dreams.
River gulls flock around, growing tamer;
old Tanka men drop in to visit.
South pond lotus spreads green coins;
north hill bamboo sends up purple shoots.
Bring-the-wine jug (what does he know about wine?)
inspires me with a fine idea.
The spring river had a beautiful poem
but, drunk, I dropped it somewhere far away.

translated by Burton Watson

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