A blue kitten is crouching beside a yellow chicken, but they seem not to be thinking the same thoughts


My hermitage is put up in a town, yet undistracted by horses or crowd

You ask how it can be; I say a moored mind is a haven quiet and peace

Picking wildflowers on the east, I catch a glimpse of the distant peak

The afternoon air suffused with sunset light

Birds taking on a homebound flight

In every line of life

you read the truth

One knows it in heart, but words have no clue

~ Translated from Tao Yuanming’s “Wine-Drinking,” a poem written in the Six Dynasties period

結廬在人境 而無車馬喧 問君何能爾 心遠地自偏

採菊東籬下 悠然見南山 山氣日夕佳 飛鳥相與還

此中有真意 欲辨已忘言

~ 陶淵明 (東晉末至南北朝) 《飲酒詩》

Tao Yuanming, born in 365 AD and died in 427 AD, is a major figure in China’s long history of poetry. Being disappointed with the political reality in his era, he decided to withdraw from public service and spent much of his life in reclusion, writing poetry to reflect on the beauty of countryside and simple life. He is considered the pioneer of recluse poetry, and his works a paragon of the ‘Fields and Gardens’ genre, an important poetic movement in classical Chinese literature.