Chanting Laziness


 
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Yellow fields of Safflower by Donglinsi, Lushan

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白居易



穿











Chanting Laziness
----Bai Juyi
Could have a job, too lazy to apply,
Have a field, too lazy to till it.
My roof has a hole in it, too lazy to fix it,
My clothes are tattered, too indolent to mend them.
Have wine jug, too lazy to open it,
Might just as well be empty!
Have my zither, too drowsy to pluck it,
Might just as well have no strings!
My family grumbles there's no more rice,
I'm also hungry...too lethargic to cook.
Friends send me letters, no energy to open them.
I hear Uncle Ji spent his whole life being lazy,
But he played his zither and blacksmithed.
Compared to me he never mastered laziness!
 
Yǒng Yōng
Yǒu guān yōng bù xuǎn, Yǒu tián yōng bù nóng.
wū chuān yōng bù qì, Yī liè yōng bù féng.
Yǒu jiǔ yōng bù zhuó, Wú yì zūn cháng kōng.
Yǒu qín yōng bù dàn, Yì yǔ wú xián tóng.
Jiā rén gào fàn jìn, Yù chuī yōng bù chōng.
Qīn péng jì shū zhì, Yù dú yōng kai fēng.
Cháng wén Jī shū yè, Yī shēng zài yōng zhōng.
Tán qín fù duàn tiě, Bǐ wǒ wèi wèi yōng.

 
Translator: Dongbo 東波

Notes:
1. We are indebted to Stephen Owen for bringing this delightful poem to our attention in his book Traditional Chinese Poetry and Poetics, Omen of the World. See page 187 for his essay, Of Laziness.

2. Audio is 'It's My Lazy Day' sung by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.

 
 
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