Wu Ts’ailuan : Favor and disgrace are meaningless

Although Wu Ts’ailuan is an admired and revered poet of the Taoist tradition, it not possible to say anything certain about her life. She may have lived in the 9th c. CE as the wife of a poor scholar, whom she supported by selling poetry. It is said that she and her husband eventually retreated to live in seclusion in the mountains.

Favor and disgrace are meaningless —
What’s the use of contending?
Drifting clouds do not obstruct the shining moonlight.
Let the ox and the horse be called,
To both I can respond —
But how could I let a speck of dust
Into the city of the mind?

Translation Thomas Cleary

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