This short poem has traveled with me for over twenty years. It comes from the classic period of Chinese poetry and is heavily influenced by the gentleness of Buddhism. It is very humane and romantic. It speaks to a blessed idleness that most of us have been taught to distrust. Unfortunately, we do not know the author, but the renowned American poet, Kenneth Rexroth, has provided us with a gorgeous translation. Look for Rexroth's translations of Chinese poetry: Love and the Turning Year, and One Hundred Poems From the Chinese.
This morning our boat left the
Orchid bank and went out through
The tall reeds. Tonight we will
Anchor under mulberries
And elms. You and me, all day
Together, gathering rushes.
Now it is evening, and see,
We have gathered just one stalk.
Translation by Kenneth Rexroth
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