Bai Juyi

(772–846 / Taiyuan, Shanxi)

Golden Bells


When I was almost forty

I had a daughter whose name was Golden Bells.

Now it is just a year since she was born;

She is learning to sit and cannot yet talk.

Ashamed—to find that I have not a sage’s heart:



Henceforward I am tied to things outside myself:

My only reward—the pleasure I am getting now.

If I am spared the grief of her dying young,

Then I shall have the trouble of getting her married.

My plan for retiring and going back to the hills

Must now be postponed for fifteen years!

Submitted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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