Bai Juyi: Naturally Produce a Self-Portrait

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Naturally Produce a Self-Portrait

自 题 写 真
我 貌 不 自 识
李 放 写 我 真。
静 观 神 与 骨
合 是 山 中 人。
蒲 柳 质 易 朽
麇 鹿 心 难 驯。
何 事 赤 墀 上
五 年 为 侍 臣?
况 多 刚 狷 性
难 与 世 同 尘。
不 惟 非 贵 相
但 恐 生 祸 因。
宜 当 早 罢 去
收 取 云 泉 身。
Zi Ti Xiew Zhen

Wo mao bu zi shi
Li fang xie wo zhen.
Jing guan shen Yu gu
He shi shan zhong ren.

Pu liu zhi yi xiu
Qun lu xin nan xun.
He shi chi chi shang
Wu nian wei shi chen?

Kuang duo gang juan xing
Nan Yu shi tong chen.
Bu wei fei gui xiang
Dan kong shen huo yin.
Yi dang zao ba qu
Shou qu yun quan shen.

 

Naturally Produce a Self-Portrait

Naturally not familiar with my physical appearance
Li Fang produced a likeness of me.
I appeared like a deity with no bones
Altogether looked like a mountain hermit.

Cattails and willow trees naturally and easily grow fast and then decay
Large numbers of deer hearts difficult to tame.
No longer do I go upon the red palace steps
For five years as a government official on whom did I wait?

Conditions stirred up my impatient nature
Difficult to avoid the combination of society and worldly dust.
Not just that my appearance resembles those without money
Still fear that I might be the cause of emerging disasters
Collect myself, seek the white clouds as the source of life.

 

Notes:

White clouds: Code words and metaphor for the spirit and the spiritual.

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