Book of Hours: Po Chü-i at Compline

Book of Hours: Po Chü-i at Compline

At night, in my dream, I stoutly climbed the mountain.

Going out alone with my staff of holly-wood.

A thousand crags, a thousand valleys –

In my dream journey none were unexplored

And all the while my feet never grew tired

And my step was as strong as in my younger days.

Book of Hours: Po Chü-i at Compline

Can it be that when the mind travels backward

The body also returns to its old state?

And can it be, as between body and soul,

That the body may languish, while the soul is still strong?

Soul and body – both are vanities:

Dream and waking – both alike unreal.

In the day my feet are palsied and tottering;

Book of Hours: Po Chü-i at Compline

In the night my feet go striding over the hills.

As day and night are divided into equal parts –

Between the two I get as much as I lose.

Po Chü-i, Poet and Government official.

Chinese (772-846 A.D)

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