from Wandering at Hsieh Creek by T’ao Ch’ien

This new year makes it fifty suddenly
gone. Thinking of life’s steady return

to rest cuts deep, driving me to spend
all morning wandering. And now, air

fresh and sky clear, I sit with friends
beside a stream flowing far away. Here,

striped bream weave the gentle current,
and calling, gulls rise over the lazy

valley. Eyes wandering distant waters,
straining, I make out Tseng Hill: it’s

meager compared to K’un-lun’s majestic
peaks, but nothing in sight rivals it.

Taking the winejar, I pour out a round,
and we start offering brimful toasts.

Who knows where today leads, or whether
things will ever be like this again?

After a few cups, my heart’s far away,
and I’ve forgotten thousand-year sorrows:

ranging to the limit of this morning’s
joy, it isn’t tomorrow I’m looking for.

translated by David Hinton