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t'ao ch'ien: Poem on returning to dwell in the country

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Andres Arzuaga

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of t'ao ch'ien: Poem on returning to dwell in the country

t'ao ch'ien: Poem on returning to dwell in the country
Who is t'ao ch'ien?
T'ao ch'ien was a chinese poet during the six dynasties period.
He was born in chaisang , which is present jiujiang today, In the year 365.
He died at the age of 63 .
The poem

Young, I was always free of common feeling. It was in my nature to love the hills and mountains.Mindlessly I was caught in the dust-filled trap.Waking up, thirteen years. The caged bird wants the old trees and air.Fish in their pool miss the ancient stream.I plough the earth at the edge of South Moor.Keeping life simple, return to my plot and garden.My place is hardly more than a few fields.
In the poem, he talks about how he remembers waking up as a child to the hills full of nature. How he could go outside and look at all the mountains with barely nothing else in sight except for nature.
he shows in his text that he tries to keep it as "old fashioned" as he can. He keeps his property as it has always been. Full of nature. His house is how he likes it. Peaceful and quiet. He also shows in the text That he can see the smoke in the air from the villages . Also, that he will always remain with nature.
"Misted, misted the distant village.", is an example of repetition.

My house has eight or nine small rooms. Elm-trees and Willows shade the back.Plum-trees and Peach-trees reach the door.
Misted, misted the distant village.
Drifting, the soft swirls of smoke.Somewhere a dog barks deep in the winding lanes.
A Rooster crows from the top of the mulberry tree.
No heat and dust behind my closed doors.
My bare rooms are filled with space and silence.
Too long a prisoner, captive in a cage,
Now I can get back again to Nature.
Then, he starts talking about how his vast amounts of land that he once roamed all around, were gone. they were gone because throughout the years, houses and other properties were being constructed. There was now a town. He used the animals as an example of how they miss their old styles of living.
Figurtive language
When he talks about the rooster crowing from the top of the tree.
Also, The soft swirls of the smoke coming from the village.
Also, when he talks about his house of nine rooms being empty and silent.
"I beg you listen to this advice: When you get wine, be sure to drink it."
~ T'ao Ch'ien from "Substance, Shadow and Spirit"


the form of the poem is a free verse .
using the animals as a way of showing that the change of the town impacted the nature as well.

using the phrase "a dust filled trap", as showing that the building of the town was a bit of a mess
Full transcript