Wang Wei: Reply to Brother Zhang the Fifth

Reply to Brother Zhang the Fifth

答 张 五 弟
终 南 有 茅 屋
前 对 终 南 山。
终 年 无 客 长 闭 关
终 日 无 心 长 自 闲。
不 妨 饮 酒 复 垂 钓
君 但 能 来 相 往 还。
Da Zhong Wu Di

Zhong nan you mao wu
Qian dui zhong nan shan.                                                                                                Zhong nian wu ke chang bu guan
Zhong ri wu xin chang zi xian.                                                                                               Bu fang yin jiu fu chui diao
Jun dan neng lai xiang wang huan.


Reply to Brother Zhang the Fifth

I have a thatched hut on land facing Zhongnan Mountain
The entire year receive no visitors and stay in seclusion.

All day long heart and mind without intent
Accomplished at self-idleness and leisure.

No hindrances to drinking wine
Repeatedly go out fishing.                                                                                                  You just come and show up
We can easily relate to each other.



Zhang the fifth: This meaning that Zhang is the fifth oldest male of his extended family.



This poem touches many of the ancient Chinese poetry bases.  We have yinju (隐居), to withdraw from society and live in solitude like a hermit. Then xian (闲), the unoccupied leisure required for artistic inspiration and execution, the metaphor of going fishing which reinforces and gives an excuse for leisure, and an invitation to a close friend to come and get drunk together.  It is all here!


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