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Imagined retirement

Posted March. 25, 2022 07:45,   

Updated March. 25, 2022 07:45


“Bad alcohol is better than tea and an ugly wife is better than living alone,” a poor scholar said. The poet thought it was close to enlightenment, even though it is crude, so he added poetic meaning. He must have thought it was still a bit unrefined as he made a note that he wrote the poem jokingly.

The thinking of the poet that overturns the social convention on alcohol and tea, as well as being in government service and living a secluded life, resembles that of Zhuang Zhou who pursued ultimate freedom away from any restriction. Like Tao Yuanming, the poet was fascinated by Zhuang Zhou and adopted the philosopher’s ideas into his life and poems. However, unlike Tao Yuanming who chose a pastoral life over a government post, the poet kept his post. He comforted himself with an imagined retirement while admiring Zhuang Zhou and Tao Yuanming.