translation from the Chinese by Ye Chun and Paul B. Roth

Secret Kindness

They didn’t find water, but slept faithfully beside the hole.
In their dreams, a red carp rolls into the pit,
water springs out, and the well is finished.
I’m fortunate to be born in a country where sincerity inspires,
my tears drop on the well’s edge.
O people, you have nothing, even the well water is the red carp’s gift.
You’ve all forgotten, because that story is no longer told.

Here, the peace I pray for is the dusk through which a farmer
leads his old ox home,
the wisdom I pray for swings easily like the rope in his hand.
My tears long to drip down this rope,
since in autumn I’m always surrounded by a secret loving-kindness.
This kindness has been passed down unbroken from one generation to the next.
I live in a country that understands even well water is heaven’s gift.  end