Idle Wandering

by Kuan Han-Ch'ing

English version by Jerome P. Seaton
Original Language Chinese

go where my mind will
sit when my heart's still
drink when I'm thirsty
and sing when I'm drunk
when hard times come
I find a pile of grass and sleep
the days and months are long
the world is vast
and idleness is happiness

toss off the vintage wine
use up the raw
laugh beside the earthen pot
ha, ha, ha,
hum harmonies together with this rude old mountain bonz
he has a pair of chickens
I've brought along a duck
and idleness is happiness

I've reined mind's horses
locked up my monkey heart
leapt up from red dust and evil-mannered wind
who woke me from my shady dreams of Empire?
I've left the field of honor
and wormed into a nest of joys
where idleness is happiness

he's ploughed the southern field
and slept among the eastern hills
I've been the way the world goes, often
vainly measured bygones in my mind
he's the saint
and I'm the fool
who'd argue that?

-- from Wine of Endless Life: Taoist Drinking Songs from the Yuan Dynasty, Edited by Jerome P. Seaton

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Recommended Books: Kuan Han-Ch'ing

Wine of Endless Life: Taoist Drinking Songs from the Yuan Dynasty Selected Plays of Kuan Han-Ching

Idle Wandering