The Ballad of War Carts (兵車行), Du Fu

A constant rumble of war cartsAnd never ending horse whinnies Soldiers with bows at their waistsFathers and mothers, wives and children rushing to see themIn the dust and dirt one cannot see Xianyang bridgePulling clothes, stamping feet, blocking the way and weepingThe sound of weeping rising above to heavenAlong the wayside a passerby asks a…

A Wilderness View – Du Fu

A Wilderness View In the western mountains the snow is white where lies three forts In the south, the Wanli Bridge crosses the vast Jinjiang River Oh, the wind and dust keep me from my brothers, and The edge of heaven ends in tears, as I am so far away And the future offers only…

Du Fu – The Evening Council Chamber

A poem is never done, it is left unfinished or abandoned, but never done, and, what is more, never fully understood. The Evening Council Chamber While the winter curtails the daylight At the end of the world the frost and snow swirl in the night At the fifth-watch the drums and bugles sound their sad…

Taking Leave of Friends on my Way to Huazhou – Du Fu

Lost, all is lost, and yet, life goes on… The title of the poem is usually translated as, Taking Leave of Friends on my Way to Huazhou. Du Fu simply calls it Huazhou (華 州), a city in Shaanxi Province, where Du Fu would take a short-lived post. All is lost. What is lost in…

Clearing Rain by Du Fu

In Kansas, half way though June. Summer is not yet here, but the day time temperatures already approach 100 degrees. Last night a violent storm blew out of the west. The news reporters spoke of straight-line winds approaching 90 miles an hour. Tree limbs fell and cars and trucks were blown off the highway. But,…

Spring View, Du Fu

In December of the year 755, the An Lushan Rebellion began. Thus, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are let loose on the Chinese Nation. Inappropriate allusion, but accurate since conquest, famine, war, and death swept the country. Quickly, General An Lushan and his army swept down from the north and moving rapidly along the Grand…

Spring Night Rain – Du Fu

Spring Night Rain A good rain knows when it is spring Wind-borne, it comes silently in the night And wets all things, yet Wild is the way the dark black clouds Leave the river boat fires lit And, at dawn reveal Chengdu blossoming splendidly like a brocade Chinese and Pinyin Chūnyè Xǐ Yǔ Hǎo yǔ…

Gazing at the Mountain – Du Fu

Gazing at the mountain Preparing to climb Mt. TaiAll around me, Zhao and Jiang, a distant blueGood Fortune, the God of Time, bestows andBalanced in dawn’s early light are Yin and YangTo the layers of clouds I bare my breast, while From the corner of my eye, I catch the sight of flying birdsAs I…

Drinking Alone beneath the Moon

Li Bai (701 – 762) was friends with Du Fu, but on this night when he composed this poem he was alone with a pot of wine; for companions he had the moon, his shadow and his thoughts. There is a story, there always is, that Li Bai, glass of wine in hand, drowned in…