Uncultivated ground – signs in China lost in translation


I came across this sign when wandering through the Panjiayuan antique market one weekend.

In this increasingly hectic world there is a lot to be said for a period of ‘lying fallow’, an old expression which originates from agriculture meaning a piece of land that is not being actively cultivated.

These days we might say we were ‘relaxing’, ‘taking a break’, ‘recharging our batteries’, ‘gaining perspective’ or just ‘chilling out’.

I am reminded of the poem by W. H. Davies which has always been a favourite of mine.

Leisure

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

In our busy lives we all need a time and an area for lying fallow .

About herschelian

Recently moved to Beijing from London - its all new to me! Trying to learn Chinese, and what makes this city tick.
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2 Responses to Uncultivated ground – signs in China lost in translation

  1. Dee Charton says:

    Lovely poem! And, now I’m going to lie fallow!

  2. Sheila Taylor says:

    I hope you listen to your own words of advice Mrs M!

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