“From office confinement all year long,…”

With a biretta tip to the Laudator:

Wei Yingwu (737–792), East of the Town, tr. Witter Bynner:

From office confinement all year long,
I have come out of town to be free this morning
Where willows harmonize the wind
And green hills lighten the cares of the world.
I lean by a tree and rest myself
Or wander up and down a stream.
…Mists have wet the fragrant meadows;
A spring dove calls from some hidden place.
…With quiet surroundings, the mind is at peace,
But beset with affairs, it grows restless again…
Here I shall finally build me a cabin,
As T’ao Ch’ien built one long ago.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to “From office confinement all year long,…”

  1. PostCatholic says:

    Beautiful. Reminds me of:

    I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
    And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
    Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
    And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

    And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
    Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
    There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
    And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

    I will arise and go now, for always night and day
    I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
    While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
    I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

    -Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”

  2. Post Catholic: Much like, indeed. Some things are universal, across cultures and centuries, aren’t they?

  3. PostCatholic says:

    Indeed. You might like Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day,” too. http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/133.html

  4. PostCatholic – one of my confreres just said the very same. I think Anuna (uhn-oo-nah) – from an Uaithne Irish for the ‘Fates’- have a beautiful version of the poem but alas I can’t find a version of it on YouTube to link to.

    At them moment I am sitting at the top of the county to the north of Sligo, Donegal, on its North-Western coast, with the rain teeming down. This is typical of the West of Ireland. I guess he wasn’t thinking of that when he wrote the poem. Beautiful piece of work though.

    If you like Yeats as an Irish poet then try Patrick Kavanagh, Austin Clarke, Thomas Kinsella among many others if you haven’t done so already.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Yeats was quoted as saying after several years of giving poetry recitals, that he would agree to one, if he did not have to read “Innisfree”. He was thoroughly sick of it. Here is one from Henry Vaughan, one of the Mystical Poets and a Welshman.

    The Waterfall

    With what deep murmurs through time’s silent stealth
    Doth thy transparent, cool, and wat’ry wealth
    Here flowing fall,
    And chide, and call,
    As if his liquid, loose retinue stay’d
    Ling’ring, and were of this steep place afraid;
    The common pass
    Where, clear as glass,
    All must descend
    Not to an end,
    But quicken’d by this deep and rocky grave,
    Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.

    Dear stream! dear bank, where often I
    Have sate and pleas’d my pensive eye,
    Why, since each drop of thy quick store
    Runs thither whence it flow’d before,
    Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
    Who came, sure, from a sea of light?
    Or since those drops are all sent back
    So sure to thee, that none doth lack,
    Why should frail flesh doubt any more
    That what God takes, he’ll not restore?

    O useful element and clear!
    My sacred wash and cleanser here,
    My first consigner unto those
    Fountains of life where the Lamb goes!
    What sublime truths and wholesome themes
    Lodge in thy mystical deep streams!
    Such as dull man can never find
    Unless that Spirit lead his mind
    Which first upon thy face did move,
    And hatch’d all with his quick’ning love.
    As this loud brook’s incessant fall
    In streaming rings restagnates all,
    Which reach by course the bank, and then
    Are no more seen, just so pass men.
    O my invisible estate,
    My glorious liberty, still late!
    Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
    Not this with cataracts and creeks.

    Henry Vaughan (1622-1695)

  6. AnAmericanMother says:

    supertradmum,
    THANKS for that poem! I had not read Vaughn, but I’m about to . . . :-)

    Thus Kipling, quoting Tusser:

    My friend, if cause doth wrest thee,
    Ere folly hath much oppressed thee,
    Far from acquaintance kest thee
    Where country may digest thee . . .
    Thank God that so hath blessed thee,
    And sit down, Robin, and rest thee.

    . . . the story that goes with it, “An Habitation Enforced”, is worth reading.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Lovely, the snippet you sent, and apropos today.

  8. PostCatholic says:

    I’m a tremendous reader of poetry, Br. Tom Forde OFM Cap. My favorite Irish poets at the moment are Patrick Galvin and Caitriona O’Reilly.