I sow my beans ’neath southern hill;
Bean shoots are lost where weeds o’ergrow.
I weed at dawn though early still;
I plod home with my moonlit hoe.
The path is narrow, grasses tall,
With evening dew my clothes wet,
To which I pay no heed at all,
If my desire can but be met.
Tao (365-427) wrote five poems – a suite– by the name of Return to Nature, all about his disgust of working for a corrupt government and his longing to return to the countryside. In this third poem, Tao depicts the daily routine of his new life as a farmer. It’s not hard to see that he wasn’t good at farming at all, with weeds growing over his bean shoots. But it also couldn’t be more obvious that despite everything, he preferred this job to his old one – a government official who had to watch his back all the time.
Apart from writing about his real life, Tao even envisioned what a “perfect world” would be like: In his famous masterpiece The Peach Blossom Visionary Land, Tao imagines himself visiting an isolated paradise where people live in harmony , stay clear of wars, and don’t even know what year it is.