Omens, Warnings, and Advice: after Yang

This poem is modeled on one from the Yuan Dynasty, 1279-1368, in The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry.

Don’t trouble over the moon, keep your back
to the wind. Never count on friends to be on time.
If you must, ask whether it’s night or day.
When you leave, don’t bump into the door.
Keep your teeth in a bowl by your bedside.
During morning walks, don’t look back.
Avoid the sun. Drink when you are happy
but not when you are strained. In the fall
and winter, when it’s raining, swallow your pills.
And in spring, when the flowers open, be sure
to sniff the poppies. If you waste your money
spend it on wine, tobacco, and high-mountain trout.
Avoid spoiled fruit and get rid of your books!

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