Invitation to Hsiao Chü-shih
Written by Po Chü-i | Translated by Arthur Waley
Within the Gorges there is no lack of men;
They are people one meets, not people one cares for.
At my front door guests also arrive;
They are people one sits with, not people one knows.
When I look up, there are only clouds and trees;
When I look down–only my wife and child.
I sleep, eat, get up or sit still,
Apart from that, nothing happens at all.
But beyond the sixty Hsiao the hermit dwells;
And with him at least I find myself at ease.
For he can drink a full flagon of wine
And is good at reciting long-line poems
Some afternoon, when the clerks have all gone home,
At a season when the path by the river bank is dry,
I beg you, take up your staff of bamboo-wood
And find your way to the parlor of the Government House
Ironic that his friend is a hermit.
I’m thoroughly enjoying the Norton Book of Friendship, an anthology of poems, essays and short fiction all about friendship. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a high school or college literature class on friendship?