Translation of the Chinese Poem “Drinking” # 5, by Tao Yuanming (a.k.a. Tao Qian, 365-427)

結廬在人境      Though I may dwell amongst the populous

throng,

而無車馬喧      By din of cart and horse I’m quite unvexed.

問君何能爾      How, you ask, do I maintain my calm?

心遠地自偏      “The wand’ring mind, no clamor may

molest.”

 

采菊東籬下      Unreal chrysanthemums bloom all about.

悠然見南山      In fancy, too, I spy Lu Mountain’s peak;

山氣日夕佳      Its mists are splendid, as the sun fades out.

飛鳥相與還      Then, with the flying birds, my mind

retreats.

 

此中有真意      For here is where the truest pleasure lies:

欲辨已忘言      Beyond my words, the world seen with

closed eyes.

Author: Harry Miller

I have traveled and lived in Taiwan, China, and Japan and am now a professor of Asian history and a soon to be published novelist.

4 thoughts on “Translation of the Chinese Poem “Drinking” # 5, by Tao Yuanming (a.k.a. Tao Qian, 365-427)”

  1. Ancient chinese poetry (古诗/古文) is highly succinct in nature, and very specific symbolism to capture complex ideas. Translating such poems becomes exceptionally challenging, but I am very glad that you continue to do so. The translation may not capture the full emotive content of the poem, but I feel it will help many readers around the world appreciate the poem, even at a basic level.

    Perhaps, you could include the context of the poem in your next translation! Looking forward to your subsequent posts too!

    Like

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