I packed some provisions and grabbed a light staff;
Following the winding path, I climbed to my hidden
I proceeded upstream, the path winding further away,
I reached the peak, my feelings not yet exhausted.
Gentle ripples congealed in wintry beauty,
Bamboos glistened in frosted strength.
The stream wound about, its water often lost
The forest stretched far, crags ever more dense.
I looked westward, taking it to be the rising moon,
I gazed eastward, wondering about the setting sun.
I walked until evening, having stayed from dawn
Even the most secluded spots have become familiar.
“Harm” at the top: one values not serving,
“Treading” in second place: one extols good fortune.
A recluse will always walk a level step,
His lofty aims, so remote, are hard to match.
A yes and a no—how far apart are they?
In quietude, I entrust myself to embracing wholeness.
As tranquility and knowledge conjoin,
The cultivation of one’s nature begins here.
– Xie Lingyun. Climbing Yongjia’s Green Crag Mountain
translated by Wendy Swartz