Tuesday, April 17, 2007

隱仕陶淵明: 【 歸園田居】/ Tao Yuan Ming, the Hermit Poet: "Return to the Countryside"

Here is my interpretation of the first four lines of the poem "Return to the Countryside"【歸園田居】by Tao Yuan Ming 陶淵明 (365-427 AD), a pre-Tang Dynasty poet who gave up his ambition as a bureaucrat and sought solitude in his village.


My youth winged and soared above the earth;
My soul whispered its dreams amongst the hills.
I didn't see it coming, this fallen angel of habit;
Till it was too late, thirty years hence.

Mr. Tao's writing often reflected his love for freedom and nature. His poems serenaded the peace and quiet of living in the countryside, away from the "rat race". He despised people's habit of chasing after earthly desires which trapped us like caged birds and farmed fish. To him, freedom is like the bird that returns to the forest and fish that swims back to the deep lake. In the last two lines shown above, he literally said: "I made a mistake and got tangled in the dusty web of this materialistic world. And, I was gone for 30 years."

Here is the whole "Return to the Countryside" poem in Chinese:

陶淵明 【歸園田居】

少無適俗韻,性本愛丘山。誤落塵網中,一去三十年。羈鳥戀舊林,池魚思故淵。 開荒南野際,手拙歸園田。方宅十餘畝,草屋八九間。 榆柳蔭後園,桃李羅堂前。曖曖遠人村,依依墟里煙。狗吠身巷中,雞鳴桑樹巔 。戶庭無塵雜, 虛室有餘閑。久在樊籠裡,復得反自然。

For those of you who like Chinese poems and pictures of mountains, here is a bilingual website called "
Mountain Songs". I will let you judge the work of the different translators who undertook the arduous tasks of translating old Chinese writings into English. The mountain pictures are quite nice (especially Omei Shan 峨嵋山 - I still have fond memories of the two-day hike up that steep mountain).

Enjoy !!!

Photo Credit Wikipedia / 維基百科图片: The picture shown is a Qing Dynasty painting based on the story called " Peach Blossom Shangri-la" 【桃花源記】, a mysterious tale about an utopian society where living was to enjoy a simple life in harmony with nature and peacefully with each other.

More info abt some of 陶淵明's poems (text in Chinese): http://web2.tcssh.tc.edu.tw/school/guowenke/books/gudianshici/127.htm#10

Related link: (updated 20100425)
* Space's blog article: "桃花源記"


xiao zhu said...


Love your interpretation. :)

微豆 said...

Xiao Zhu: 我是愛滑雪丶跑步和其它戶外活動,回歸大自然是樂事,但我也喜欢旅遊羅馬等歐洲大城市,歸園田居,今生只能嚮往,不能實行。

Beside, I will miss blogging and Starbuck ;)

Josefina said...


微豆 said...


1. 我母親說,香港的噪吵,習慣了沒有問題,那知過來加拿大,反而不習慣這城市的幽靜,耳朵有耳鳴,但現在住慣了又沒有事。

2. 我和您都沒有隱仕的因子DNA

Ada said...


Haricot 微豆 said...


>> ... 找處清靜點的地方

I agree with you. That's why I like to leave the city once in a while and travel to far away places such as Morocco.

Ada said...

Me too. Your pics of Morocco are nice. Since I've been to Tunisia in 2008, Morocco will not been my destination in near future. But, I will go there one day.

Haricot 微豆 said...

Ada: Wow Tunisia!! According to Wikipedia, just like Morocco, it was also under French protectorate, until its independence in 1956.

Have you posted any travel pictures?

Ada said...

Haricot: Yes, there are some in my FB. I can share with you the link if you want.

Haricot 微豆 said...

Ada: If it is not too much trouble, yes please.

Ada said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Haricot 微豆 said...

Ada: Thx !!!

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