Tao Yuanming Poems: Qian Stream Revisited – 陶渊明《乙巳岁三月为建威参军使都经钱溪》






















Qian Stream Revisited

How long have I not visited here?

Days have piled up into a year.

Dawn to dusk I see hills and streams,

Scenes are revived as in old dreams.

In fine rain steeped the branches high,

Wind-borne birds ripple cloudy sky.

That’s what a familiar eye sees,

Not saddened by a heartfelt breeze.

Why should I plod along the way,

Tied down to my post all the day?

My body seems bound up in view,

But I’ve a heart none could subdue.

I miss my rural life and song.

Could I be kept away for long?

In homing boat I’d be carefree,

Oh, as a frost-proof cypress tree.


This poem is a five-line poem written by Tao Yuanming, a literary scholar in the Jin and Song dynasties. The poem was written on the way to the capital on orders, mainly through the depiction of the scenery on the way, expressing the feelings of homesickness and the idea of returning to seclusion. The whole poem is neatly structured, with the first half writing about the scenery and the second half feeling nostalgic, the two halves are well proportioned and clearly defined.

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