“Returning to the Fields and Gardens (II)” appears courtesy of Copper Canyon Press. Reprinted from Arthur Sze's The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese, translated and introduced by Arthur Sze. © 2001 Arthur Sze.


To read Arthur Sze's translations of

Li Ch'ing-chao

Li Ho

Wen I-to

Li Po

Li Shang-yin

Tu Fu

Wang Wei


Read our interview with Arthur Sze in this issue.


Read a selection of Sze's poetry in an earlier issue.


At bn.com, a complete list of titles by Arthur Sze


Sam Hamill's translation of of Ta'o Ch'ien in an earlier issue
T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

Translated by Arthur Sze

Returning to the Fields and Gardens (II)

I plant beans below the southern hill:
there grasses flourish and bean sprouts are sparse.
At dawn, I get up, clear out a growth of weeds,
then go back, leading the moon, a hoe over my shoulder.

Now the path is narrow, grasses and bushes are high.
Evening dew moistens my clothes;
but so what if my clothes are wet –
I choose not to avoid anything that comes