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White garlic pan-fried in dew


Towering trees shade a brushwood gate,
emerald moss dappled with falling light.

They hoe lotus, a mountain moon rising,
and then, searching thin mist for a trail,

the old man leads a child, eyes following
their starveling ox taking its calf home.

And for dinner, back home in lamplight,
they savour white garlic pan-fried in dew.

Mei Yao-ch’en (1002-1060)
translated by David Hinton