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"Reclining against a Tea-Table"

                              note: something hermits are said to do in their ease

by Bair Jiuyih (772-846), also spelled Bai Juyi, Po Chü-i, and so forth
translated by David Prager Branner, 2001

Body at ease, four limbs forgotten -
          mind at ease, right and wrong forgotten -
and being at ease, ease too is forgotten,
          and I do not know who “I” is.

This body’s hundred parts, like dessicated branches,
          know nothing, a treelesss hill.
This “one square inch”, like dead ashes,
          thinks nothing, soundless.

                              note: "one square inch" means his mind

Today, and again tomorrow,
          body, mind, both suddenly put aside.
The years of this journey have been thirty-nine,
          my life is at its dusk, my day at its sunset.

"At forty, my mind no longer moves” -
          might I now be close to that?

                              note: so said the philosopher Mencius, (Mencius IIa: 2)

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