SONG OF THE OLD MAN OF THE HILLS

I never go to the plains beneath the hills,
Only on the hillside plant my fields.
The hatchet at my waist chops down the pines in the copse,
The gourd in my hand draws water from the homestead spring.
What do I care for the force of written words?
Let no one heed the shifts of sun and moon.
When the twisted tree at last shall be my body
Then I shall begin to live out my natural span.


Meng Chiao (tr. A. C. Graham)