Wang Wei and stillness
Because when is it not a good time for a Wang Wei reflection on age and pursuits. Asian poetry, especially the sparse verse often found in Japan and China, appeals to me more as I grow older. They are reflections based on experience; often, they are resignations to the greater entity or a sweet surrender to nature. They are observations based on lifetimes of passions and pursuits. They really are profound, but often they are tossed aside for their simplicity. That is really their greatest strength, though; they are adages boiled to their core. They are Truth.
Answering Vice-Prefect Zhang
Old now, I prefer stillness to sound:
The world’s noise no longer has my ear.
Without great plans, I attend simply to Self;
Empty of knowledge, I return to familiar woods.
A pine-wind unsashes my robe;
In mountain moonlight, I play my lute.
You ask me the cause of birth and death:
A fisherman’s song that sinks into coves.
trans., Stanton Hager