Lazy Man's Song

BY PO CHü-I
Dec 14, 2010

I have got patronage, but am too lazy to use it;

I have got land, but am too lazy to farm it.

My house leaks; I am too lazy to mend it.

My clothes are torn; I am too lazy to darn them.

I have got wine, but am too lazy to drink;

So it's just the same as if my cellar were empty.

I have got a harp, but am too lazy to play;

So it's just the same as if it had no strings.

My wife tells me there is no more bread in the house;

I want to bake, but am too lazy to grind.

My friends and relatives write me long letters;

I should like to read them, but they're such a bother to open

I have always been told that Chi Shu-yeh1

Passed his whole life in absolute idleness.

But he played the harp and sometimes transmuted metals,

So even he was not so lazy as I.

 

 

China, AD 722-846

translated by Arthur Waley