A Dream of Mountaineering


At night, in my dream, I stoutly climbed a mountain,
Going out alone with my staff of holly-wood.
A thousand crags, a hundred hundred 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 young days.
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;
Dreaming and waking–both alike unreal.
In the day my feet are palsied and tottering;
In the night my steps go striding over the hills.
As day and night are divided in equal parts–
Between the two, I get as much as I lose.


                             Chinese; trans. Arthur Waley


Po Chu-i, Chinese, trans. Arthur Waley, One Hundred Seventy Chinese Poems, 1919, Constable & Co. Ltd.; Translations from the Chinese, 1922, Alfred A. Knopf.