Composed at Random
Human life is an endless struggle—
The post-horse and plow-ox.
On the brows of the Daoist sadness never grows:
Quietly holding a book of immortality, seated by the window,
What else is there to seek?
Prospects disappear, far, far away,
Months and years are hard to detain.
In a hundred years’ time everyone will be a pat of mud,
So arrange a firm and safe place in your own mind
And let the boat float with the stream.
Gu Taiqing (1799-1877)
From ‘Poems Written in Tianyou Pavilion’.
I’ve loved this poem since the very first day I read it, and have been intrigued by its author ever since. No surprise then that I ordered the following book from Amazon UK when I very recently became aware of it, as it includes biographical information about Gu Taiqing ;).
‘Biographical Dictionary Of Chinese Women: The Qing Period, 1644-1911’
Edited by Lily Xiao Hong Lee, A. D. Stefanowska and. Clara Wing-chung, 1998
[The image above is from Wikimedia]