Don’t Ask by Ch’i-chi

Don’t ask if I’ve ceased wanting anything–
we all know the simile of the drifting clouds.
Excess wouldn’t fit the precepts:
take what comes and you’re never in doubt.
How happy, that worthy Yen!
Even the sage Confucius was poor.
Once you’ve passed the age of understanding
stop trying to change destiny’s course.

translated by Burton Watson

6 thoughts on “Don’t Ask by Ch’i-chi

  1. “Stop trying to change destiny’s course” is a “new” and somewhat foreign concept coming to me lately. Maybe that means I’m starting to understand…..?

  2. Do you know if there is a complete translation of this series of 15 poems anywhere? I’ve read a selection from “The Clouds Should Know Me By Now” but can’t find the whole series.

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