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Huangshan Poems from the T'ang Dynasty from Han Shan

A Bug Trapped in a Bowl

Encircled by peak on peak of life's dust,
man is a bug trapped in a bowl,

all day skittering up its sides,
ever falling back, never bounding out,

his imagined joys always beyond his reach,
his present miseries ever close by,

till eventually his little river of years dries up,
and old age takes teeth, takes hair, takes all.

poem by Han Shan from Huangshan Poems from the T'ang Dynasty, translated by Stanton HagerReport problemRelated quotes
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