A Stay At General’s Tent

宿府
by 杜甫 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Du_Fu)

清秋幕府井梧寒
独宿江城蜡炬残
永夜角声悲自语
中庭月色好谁看
风尘荏苒音书绝
关塞萧条行路难
已忍伶俜十年事
强移栖息一枝安

my personal translation
A Stay At General’s Tent
by Du, Fu

A well tree tells frost by the tent in fall;
A candle speaks time in this town by me.
The trumpets sound all night as if to hum;
The moonlight shines all sky but who to see?
I meet no roads, and gateways empty show;
I get no mails, though turmoils endless be,
Through ten years with a face without a wash,
To one day with a branch upon a tree.

Is that all I get after ten years of suffering? That’s the question asked by Du, Fu, in his last couplet. I can’t really say his poems are great. He simply whined too much in his life through poetry, most works of which have been preserved to this day. In any case, he was well-known for his masterful techniques and not for his content, especially his consistent accomplishment of complete parallelism. His poetry revealed many of the social problems faced in his time, hence of great historical value. Many English writers and translators failed in their attempts to translate Du’s poetry due to its extensive parallelism. I hope my translations offer a ray of light to the English-speaking world.

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About Run Song

Run Song (宋闰) is my pen name for the Moments of Poetry, a collection of poems about the greatest moments of life. If photography captures the greatest moments of life, poetry is the life behind them.
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