returning to gardens and fields to dwell

From my youth I’ve lacked the worldly tune,
by nature I have loved hills and mountains.
Accidentally I fell into the dusty net of the world,
and thirteen years passed at once.
The bird in a trammel longs for its former forest;
a fish in a pond misses its native deep.
I opened up wasteland at the southern wilds,
adhering to the simple, I returned to the fields.
On a square plot less than two acres,
my thatched hut is eight or nine measures.
Elms and willows shade the back yard;
peach and plum cover the front of the hall.
Dim in the distance, is a remote village,
lingering vaguely, the country smoke.
A dog barks deep in the alley,
a cock crows atop a mulberry tree.
My home and yard have no dusty goods—
the empty room has sufficient leisureliness.
For too long I have been confined in a cage,
now I’ve come back to naturalness.

Tao Yuanming


on drinking

I built my cottage in the human world,
yet there is no noise of horse and carriage.
How then did you manage to achieve this?
When the heart is far away, the locale naturally
becomes remote.
Picking chrysanthemum flowers by the eastern hedge,
I gaze at South Mountain in the distance.
The mountain air is lovely at dusk,
and birds fly back with one another.
In this return there is a fundamental truth,
I am going to explain it, but already forgot the words.

Tao Yuanming