"Reclining against a Tea-Table"
note: something hermits are said to do in their ease
by Bair Jiuyih (772-846), also spelled Bai Juyi, Po Chü-i, and so forth
translated by David Prager Branner, 2001
Body at ease, four limbs forgotten -
mind at ease, right and wrong forgotten -
and being at ease, ease too is forgotten,
and I do not know who “I” is.
This body’s hundred parts, like dessicated branches,
know nothing, a treelesss hill.
This “one square inch”, like dead ashes,
thinks nothing, soundless.
note: "one square inch" means his mind
Today, and again tomorrow,
body, mind, both suddenly put aside.
The years of this journey have been thirty-nine,
my life is at its dusk, my day at its sunset.
"At forty, my mind no longer moves” -
might I now be close to that?
note: so said the philosopher Mencius, (Mencius IIa: 2)