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Han-Shan sits on a flat stone
In his garden and plays the flute,
Mimicking the birds singing among
The gourd vines or from the top
Of the blue pine tree.

Or he constructs a new trellis
For the rambling rose over his front
Gate or works at the great loom in his porch,
Weaving his own coverlets.

Sometimes, he paints drinking gourds
To hang at his cold spring.

His poems, delicate but strong,
Paper the ceiling above his bed,
So he can lie and read
His own masterpieces.

No man, he avers, can catch
Such fish in one basket.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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