Han Shan Poem – I Have Thrust Aside Everything

Cold Mountain

I live alone by folded cliffs

where churning mists even at midday do not part.

 

Though it is dark here in the room,

my mind is clear and free of clamor.

 

In dreams I roam past golden portals;

my spirit returns across the stone bridge.

 

I have thrust aside everything that vexes me –

Clatter! Clatter! Goes the dipper in the tree.*

 

 *someone feeling sorry for the hermit Hsu Yu because he had to drink water from his hands, gave him a gourd dipper. But after using it once, Hsu Yu hung it in a tree and went off, leaving it to clatter in the wind

(Cold Mountain, 100 poems by the T’ang poet Han Shan, translated by Burton Watson, no. 42, p. 60)

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