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I'm trying to translate a poem with the title "Plum In The Basket". The subject matter of most of the poem revolves around eating plums and plum wine, but the opening line, key to understanding the poem's overall theme, is this:

"闲而生懒,懒生肉"

Currently, I've translated this verse as "Leisure and the onset of sloth, the sloth of raw meat."

I feel like I'm missing a bit of symbolic nuance in the phrases "懒" and "生肉" that might be more obvious to experienced Chinese translators. Am I on the right track? Any input on this would be greatly appreciated.

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  • One who has too much leisure time becomes lazy. – joehua Feb 12 at 6:31
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闲 - idle

而 - therefore

生 - create/ grow

懒 - lazy

懒 - lazy

生 - grow /create

肉 - flesh/ meat

"闲而生懒,懒生肉" = "Idleness grows laziness, laziness (makes you) grows flesh"

'grow flesh' is a polite way to say 'become fat'

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  • That makes a lot more sense! Thanks! – Coleman Gailloreto Feb 12 at 7:54
  • Idleness begets laziness, laziness begets fleshiness – Wayne Cheah Feb 12 at 8:15

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