Reading Books by Liu Tsung-yuan

Living in obscurity I’ve given up current affairs
I bow my head in silence and reflect on the sage kings
the highs and lows of the ancient past
the ups and downs of countless paths
I laugh to myself when I’m pleased
when I’m sad I simply sigh
I take my books from their cases
I go through from front to back
despite the affliction of tropical diseases
I feel different than in the past
while reading I suddenly understand
when I’m done my mind is a blank
who can I talk with at night
if not these texts on bamboo and silk
I lie down when I get tired
after a good sleep I feel refreshed
I yawn and stretch my limbs
I read out loud to my heart’s content
I enjoy doing what suits me
not to please learned men
I shut up when I’ve said what I want
free of restraints I relax
the clever consider me stupid
the wise think I’m a fool
but reading has managed to make me happy
what good is working till you drop
cherish this body of yours
don’t use it to chase after fame

translated by Red Pine

what a life

peanut butter
from the jar
crunchy of course
for dinner
plus bits and pieces
of steak
graciously given to me
by a neighbor
for Bayramı
and a glass
of ice cold water
man
what a life
I lead
then back to Katzenzakis
bound and determined
to finish this
by dawn’s light

on reading

oft times
there’s just me and a book
who’s an old
or maybe a new
friend
a glass of wine
the ceiling fan turning
the cat sleeping on the back
of my chair
and that’s all I need
that’s enough