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.
From Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese, translated and edited by Sam Hamill. Translation copyright © 2000 by Sam Hamill. Reprinted by permission of translator and publisher. All rights reserved.