The Hope of Spring

March 2022, the Russian war in Ukraine rages without much hope for peace. The winter snow still falls, as do the bombs, but the tanks are strangely silent outside the major cities. The Ukrainian military fights on. There is a hope of spring in the hearts of the freedom loving Ukrainian people. Du Fu’s poem…

Give Me Meat to Eat

November, 2021, Happy Thanksgiving! “Dear Li Bai, Give me meat to eat, or at least green rice to put some color in my cheeks.” — an excerpt from a short ditty written by Du Fu to Li Bai, the Tang dynasty’s two best known poets. … 野人對羶腥, 蔬食常不飽豈無青精飯, 使我顏色好… A savage rightly likes fish and…

Stopping by Su Duan in the Rain

Rain and mud, a walking stick, Lord Su, a feast of dates and pears, fine wine makes good talk. 雨過蘇端杜甫 雞鳴風雨交,久旱雨亦好杖藜入春泥, 無食起我早諸家憶所歷,一飯跡便掃蘇侯得數過,歡喜每傾倒也復可憐人,呼兒具梨棗濁醪必在眼,盡醉攄懷抱紅稠屋角花,碧委牆隅草親賓縱談謔,喧鬧慰衰老況蒙霈澤垂,糧粒或自保妻孥隔軍壘,撥棄不擬道 Stopping By to See Su Duan in the RainDu Fu, 757-759 In wind and rain, a rooster crows. And after a long drought, rain is good.A walking stick, in Spring it’s muddy, I…

Spring Night, Happy Rain

Good rain knows the right timeTo fall when spring comesAnd follows the wind in the nightSilently, moistening every thing A wild path black and cloudyA riverboat fire alone and brightDawn has the look that is red and wetIn Brocade City, Guancheng* Spring Night, Happy Rain by Du Fu, written in Chengdu, 759 – 763, during…

Facing the Snow

In the battle’s aftermath, many spirits cry,Alone, an old man hums his worrisome chant.Confusion sets in amid the clouds at dusk,A violent snow dances in the swirling wind There lies an abandoned ladle and an empty green jug,But the stove still looks fiery red.With bad news from many placesI sit in grief, but cannot read…

If the Beatles met Du Fu

A bird of prey in the sky soaring highTwo white gulls on the river walking byThe predator, ready to strike, floating on the wind,The prey, mewing, lazily rocking to and fro Why is the grass wet with dew?Why is a spider web untouched?Heaven’s mysteries remain unanswered?And I, stand alone, with ten thousand worries Standing alone,…

In a Bamboo Grove, 竹裏館

Sitting alone, somewhere in a bamboo grovePlucking on a zither, whistling alongDeep in the forest, where I can’t be foundAt least, not until the bright moon shines I Want to be Alone We’re social critters who need to be strongly connected with other people. But, as every poet knows, solitude can be just as important….

Thanksgiving Plus One

By 豆腐, DÒU FU Thanksgiving plus oneThe turkey is doneBlack Friday, broke SaturdayThank goodness I’m doneTo the near ones and dear onesBe safe and be healthy 感恩加一火雞吃饭黑星期五贫星期六感谢天堂我做完親愛的朋友万事亨通 Dòu Fu, 豆腐, means tofu, a play on words for the famous Chinese poet Du Fu, 杜甫 (712–770). Almost fifteen hundred of his poems have survived the ages….

Autumn Meditations, 4, Du Fu

One hears, it’s said, Chang’an is a game of chess A century of events beyond sorrow Where princely palaces have new owners and Civilian and military clothes have changed from the past To the north of the mountain pass, gongs and drums sound In the western campaign, wagons and horses and feathered dispatches are slowed…

A Verse – Du Fu

Two golden orioles sing in the emerald green willow, One row of white egrets fly in the blue sky. From my window to the west, I spy the snowy mountains of Xiling, From my door to the east, come ships from far away. A Pair of Golden Orioles Sing Even the simplest poems present a…