By Hsieh Ling-yun
Beside this dike, I shake off the world's dust,
enjoying walks alone near my brushwood house.
A small stream gurgles down a rocky gorge.
Mountains rise beyond the trees,
kingfisher blue, almost beyond description,
but reminding me of the fisherman's simple life.
From a grassy bank, I listen
as springtime fills my heart.
Finches call and answer in the oaks.
Deer cry out, then return to munching weeds.
I remember men who knew a hundred sorrows,
and the gratitude they felt for gifts.
Joy and sorrow pass, each by each,
failure at one moment, happy success the next.
But not for me. I have chosen freedom
from the world's cares. I chose simplicity.
Translated by Sam Hamill