Chinese Poetry

Occasional Poem on an Autumn Day

Ch’eng Hao was one of the leading poets and teachers of neo-Confucianism in China in the 11th century and this poem reflects his philosophy that all things are an inextricable part of the Tao, which is also to say the mind. 


When I’m at peace, I let everything go

I wake by the east window after sunrise

viewed without passion everything is fine

seasonal glories hold true for man

the Tao fills the world the formed and the formless

our thoughts are in the ever-changing wind and clouds

not troubled by wealth content in poverty

the person who reaches this is truly noble

Ch’eng Hao (1032-1085)
From: Poems of the Masters, translated by Red Pine