December 21st, 2013

forget words

I live here in a village house without
all that racket horses and carts stir up,

and you wonder how that could ever be.
Wherever the mind dwells apart is itself

a distant place. Picking chrysanthemums
at my east fence, I see South Mountain

far off: air lovely at dusk, birds in flight
returning home. All this means something,

something absolute: whenever I start
to explain it, I forget words altogether.

No. 5 from Drinking Wine; T’ao Ch’ien (365-427 CE)

Translation: David Hinton


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