China by Bicycle :: April -- October '98

Subject: A little more Tang
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 08:20:19 -0700

7:19 Baiyinguoleng Binguan, Korla; Xinjiang--China :: TH 24 SEP 98

These poetic interpretations carry the same warning as those for the entry Some things Tangy. In short, these are not scholarly translations, but loose interpretations.

A shocking year
Cao Song (fl 860)

Loosely interpreted by Patrick Jennings

On lake country landscape a battle pitched.
Where peasant joys sundered, no one enriched.

I trust you will make no remark
Of titles heaped on glories vain.

The general's valour: bones of those slain.

Gold Thread Robes

Loosely interpreted by Patrick Jennings

Love not your gold thread robes, I pray,
More than your youthful golden hours.
Pick sweet blossoms while you may
And not the twig devoid of flowers!

Every being in the universe
is an expression of the Tao.
It springs into existence,
unconscious, perfect, free,
takes on a physical body,
lets circumstances complete it.
That is why every being
spontaneously honors the Tao.

The Tao gives birth to all beings,
nourishes them, maintains them,
cares for them, comforts them, protects them,
takes them back to itself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering.
That is why love of the Tao
is in the very nature of things.
  graphical element Attributed to Lao Tse
The Tao Te Ching
Chapter 51
trans. Stephen Mitchell