Tao Chien

(365–427 / China)

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Tao Qian ( T'ao Ch'ien, 365–427), better known as Tao Yuanming ,was a Chinese poet. Born in modern Jiujiang, Jiangxi, he was one of the most influential pre-Tang Dynasty (618-907) Chinese poets.

He came from a notable family which had descended into poverty; when young, he was torn between ambition and a desire to retreat into solitude. His great-grandfather was the famous Eastern Jin ... more »

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Best Poem of Tao Chien


The ways of heaven are mysterious,
the spirits pose a problem.

Since childhood, I struggled to do right—
forty-four years of struggle.

Things went bad when I was twenty.
At thirty, I lost my wife.

Fires burned my houses down
and weevils ate my grain.

Winds and rain ruined everything:
I couldn’t fill a mouth.

In summer, we went hungry;
in winter we all slept cold.

Evenings, we longed for the cock crow;
at dawn, we chased away the crows.

It’s my own poor karma, not heaven,
that leaves me troubled and bitter.

A ...

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