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