Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Carefree as a Bird

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Carefree as a Bird

Article excerpt


If you are a bird

Nothing more than a bird

You rise with the wind

You fly as you please

With your eyes wide open

You look at the world below

This big mass of chaos

You fly across the muddy swamp

Above all the troubles

At ease and carefree


You circle and look about

Or dash straight like a shuttle

You fly where your heart goes

Why turn back and pick up the pettiness

Strewn all over the earth

Nothing to tie you down

Nothing to worry about

No more resentments or regrets

Once free from the burdens of old

You soar high into the sky

Light and loose all over


Heavy and ponderous

The earth sways with you

The horizon below

Far off and unreachable

Vanishes in an instant

Scenes of wonder suddenly emerge

One after another

The lake is also spinning in circles

Like the thoughts in your mind

It roams freely

Between the vast desert and the sea

Where night and day cross their paths

A big eye of wisdom

Guides you forward

To the realm of the unknown


Luminous ebullience

Empty yet full

Merges eternity with the moment

Time is transparent

From between shadows and cracks

Springs up a certain forgetfulness


All these you've never seen before

Unpredictable and capricious

They vanish with a little absence of mind

Again you wander in the dark

Only one thing is clear

You're not a bird after all

You cannot free yourself

They are everywhere

They trap you like a tangled web

These day-to-day hassles


In futility's wake

You have to find a refuge

To comfort and soothe your soul

If you still have a soul

It has to go somewhere

Neither heaven nor hell

To lodge this weightlessness

Translated from Chinese

by Gilbert C. …

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