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Stringless Harp

Stringless Harp

Tao Yuanming didn't know music,but he kept a
stringless harp.When he was a bit high with liquor,he played the harp to
express his feelings. ——Xiao Tong: On Tao Yuanming

However, I never drink liquor.
And I do not even have a thing that can be called a harp.

I have neither tung wood,
Nor rattan bow,
Neither horse tail,
Nor ivory-like and weathered plectrum
Nor amber-like rosin.

No, no, no,
Never, never, never.

Though I know a little about music,
I have stored up not a little of worry.

I am no Tao Yuanming.
And I didn't plant five willows in front of the gate.

I am no Tao Yuanming,
So I miss the chance of playing the harp. 

无弦琴

陶渊明不解音律,而蓄无弦琴一张。每酒适,辄抚弄以寄意。
——萧统:《陶渊明传》

然而,我不会喝酒,
连一张做样子的琴也无有。

无有桐木,
无有弓藤,
无有马尾,
无有象牙一般熟透了的拨子,
无有琥珀一般凝固着的松油。

不会,不会,不会,
无有,无有,无有。

尽管我略懂一点点音律,
并且积蓄了不止一点点忧愁。

我不是陶渊明啊,
不曾在门前栽下五株柳。

我不是陶渊明啊,
也误了抚琴的时候。

2016-06-23

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