Why are you still here?

(after Li Bai)
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It’s spring, you say – Why are you still here?

The lichens are slowly turning
The mountain rock to new dirt,
The snowmelt is carrying the old dirt away;

Why are you still here?

I smile; my heart
Beats as slowly as the mountain’s heart.

A peach blossom, ripped from the twig
By the pummeling spring rain,
May be carried by freshet, by gully,
By stream, by river – clear to the sea, maybe;

So too me:
ripped from heaven,
Halfway to somewhere else by now.

Which is why I have no answer.

 

 

Image: Inner Basin Trail by Deborah Lee Soltesz, published under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0 1.0) license.

A very damn free translation of 詩仙 李白, by the “Immortal Poet” of the Tang dynasty, Li Bai, sometimes called Li Po.

山中問答

問余何事(意)棲碧山
笑而不答心自閒
桃花流水杳然去
別有天地非人間

Already you can see the problem, yes?

Here is a supposedly-literal translation (whatever that means):

You ask for what reason I stay on the green mountain,
I smile, but do not answer, my heart is at leisure.
Peach blossom is carried far off by flowing water,
Apart, I have heaven and earth in the human world.

As usual, translations abound.

 

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