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 bodyboth are vanities;
Dreaming and wakingboth 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.