Wang Wei

Peach Blossom Spring

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A fisherman floated on, enjoying Spring.
The shores, he found, were covered in Peach Blossom.
Watched reddening trees, uncertain where he was.
Seeing no one reached green water springs.
There a way led through the hill.
Twisting, turning to a vast plain.
Distant trees rose to the clouds.
Houses stretched among bamboo and flowers.
Woodmen had names from times of Chou,
Clothes they wore were those of Ch’in,
Once had lived near Wu-ling River,
Now they lived outside the world.
Bright moon in pines. By their doors peace.
Sunrise. From clouds the wild birds call.
Amazed, they want to see this stranger,
Invite him; ask questions of his country.
At first light they sweep flowers from the gate.
At dusk fishermen, woodmen ride the stream.
They had sought refuge there from the world,
Became Immortals, never returned.

Who in those hills can know the world of men,
Who, gazing out, sees only clouds and hills?
He forgot Paradise is hard to find.
His spirit turned again to his own home.
Leaving those hidden streams and mountains,
Thought he could return when he wished,
Knew the way. How could he go wrong?
Who can know how hills and valleys alter?
He only knew the deep ways he wandered.
How many green streams in those cloudy woods?
When Spring comes a myriad Peach-filled rivers,
Who knows which one might lead to Paradise?

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