WAYs – Returning Home to My Fields and Gardens – T’ao Ch’ien

Returning to My Fields and GardensWhen I was young, my world was disharmonious.
At root, fields and mountains were my nature.Nevertheless, I lived in the dust of the world
for more than thirty years,a caged bird longing for remembered groves,
a pond fish dreaming of deep seas.Clearing brush along a southern trail:
living simply returns me to gardens and fields.My three small acres hold
just a thatch-roofed hutwith willow and elm behind for eaves,
and peach and plum besides.The memory of village life grows dim,
passing like smoke on gentle winds.A dog barks down the road.
A cock crows in a mulberry tree.I’ve swept the dust from my dooryard.
My empty room is a pleasure.Thirty years locked in a cage,
but now I return to my own true nature.

Sam Hamill

Return to My Country Home

When young I couldn’t bear the common taste,
I loved the mountains and the peaks,
yet I fell into the world’s net
and wasted thirteen years.
But trapped birds long for their old woods
and fish in the pool still need deep waters,
so I’m breaking earth in the south field,
returning to the country to live simply,
with just ten acres
and a thatch roof over some rooms.
Elm and willow shade the back eaves,
rows of peach and plum trees by the front hall.
A distant village lost in haze;
smoke twines from neighbors’ houses.
From deep in the lanes, dogs bark;
a cock chuckles high up in a mulberry tree.
No dust or clutter within my courtyard door,
just empty rooms and time to spare.
After all those years like a beast in a cage
I’ve come back to the soil again.

Tony Barnstone