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Featured Poem: No.14 – Taken from 170 Chinese Poems

Written by Francesca Dolan, 10th January 2022

Today's Featured Poem is brought to you by The Reader's Publications Manager, Grace Frame. She reads 'No.14', a poem taken from a small sequence called 'Seventeen Old Poems' deriving from 'A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems' translated by Arthur Waley.

from A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, translated by Arthur Waley

Seventeen Old Poems: 14

(some dated to first century B.C. and one to first century A.D.)


The years of a lifetime do not reach a hundred.

Yet they contain a thousand years’ sorrow.

When days are short and the dull nights long,

Why not take a lamp and wander forth?

If you want to be happy you must do it now,

There is no waiting till an after-time.

The fool who’s loath to spend the wealth he’s got

Becomes the laughing-stock of after ages.

It is true that Master Wang became immortal,

But how can we hope to share his lot?

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