In my third lesson two weeks ago, Master Lui gave me the piece Returning Home (歸去來辭). The lyrics of this guqin melody are written by Tao YuanMing 陶淵明 (365–427 AD). When an arrogant official was sent by the provincial government to his home district, Tao, who then served as magistrate, was required to meet him. Seeing the inequities of political life, he said, “For five pecks of rice, I cannot bow at the waist.” With that, he resigned his official’s seal and returned home.
Lyrics and my condensed paraphrase below:
My fields, choked with weeds,
How can I not return home?
The past cannot be changed;
The future holds possibilities.
A light breeze rocks my boat;
The wind swirls my clothing.
I ask another traveler about the road,
While the morning light is still dim.
Then, I see my home.
I am welcomed at the gate.
The pines and chrysanthemums still remain.
I stroll in the garden with contentment.
The clouds float by the mountain peaks.
Tired of flying, the birds also return home.
What is there to gain anyways?
I just cherish quiet morning walks along clear streams,
Why doubt the ways of Heaven?
My grandfather’s favourite poem.