Saturday, May 10, 2008

Li: living on thin air


To fly high hardly fills the belly.
Wasted effort, distressing, your useless crying --
At dawn, intermittent, about to break.
A whole tree stands indifferently green.
A hapless official, flotsam floating about,
My old garden is already level with weeds.
Much obliged I am for your admonition:
I too, with my family, live on thin air.

Li Shang-yin (812-858) The Cicada
Trans. Eugene Eoyang and Irving Y. Lo
In Wu-chi Liu & Irving Y Lo (ed.), Sunflower Splendor
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), p. 243