TAO YUANMING - “Returning to Live on the Farm I”
Since my youth, what was popular didn't suit me;
my basic character was love of hills and mountains.
Mistakenly, I fell into the dusty net,
and trapped, I lost all of thirty years.
A caged bird years for the ancient forest;
a fish kept in a pond will miss old waters.
I'll clear the wasteland at the southern border,
I'll stay honest and pure, and keep to the fields.
Elms and willows shade my back eaves,
peach and plum are heaped in the front hall.
The nearest hamlet is dim in the distance;
its smoke seems reluctant to leave the village.
Dogs bark from deep within the lanes;
chickens squawk through the tops of mulberry trees.
No dust swirls through my courtyard door;
empty rooms offer abundant leisure.
For so long I've felt I lived in a prison.
I am restored, content to return to nature.
Translation by Deng Ming-Dao