Written for his retirement
My house is poor; those I love have left me;
My body is sick; I cannot join the feast.
There is not one living soul before my eyes
As I lie alone locked in my cottage.
My broken lamp burns with a feeble flame;
My tattered curtains are crooked and do not meet.
"Tsk, tsk" on the door-step and window-sill
Again I hear the new snow fall.
As I grow older, gradually I sleep less;
I wake at midnight and sit up straight in bed.
If I had not learned the "art of sitting and forgetting 1,"
How could I bear this loneliness?
Stiff and stark my body cleaves to the earth;
Unimpeded my soul yields to Change 2
So has it been for four hateful years,
Through one thousand three hundred nights!
1 - Confucian principle of becoming one with nature
2 - The neverending chaos that governs the Universe