Wang Wei’s “Zhongnan Mountain Retreat” (Tang Poems)


Zhongnan Mountain Retreat is a famous poem by the Tang dynasty poet Wang Wei, who lived from 699 to 759 AD. Here is a translation of the poem:

You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain,
I smile and make no reply for my heart is at ease.
Peach blossoms flow downstream,
Leaves float like snowflakes.
Amidst the flowing water, beside the tall bamboos,
The sun sets beyond the western hills.
Birds fly back to their nests in flocks,
And I am left alone in this beautiful scenery.

The poem describes Wang Wei’s retreat to the Zhongnan Mountains in central China, where he found peace and tranquility away from the bustle of city life. The beauty of nature around him is captured in vivid images of peach blossoms, floating leaves, flowing water, tall bamboos, and a setting sun. The return of the birds to their nests highlights the passing of time and the solitude that Wang Wei feels in his mountain retreat. The poem is a reflection on the beauty of nature and the simplicity of a life lived close to it.

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