Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sam and Tu Fu

You have heard me extol the virtues of Sam Hamill's stunning and magnificent translation of ancient Chinese poetry, Crossing the Yellow River. And why not? It has things like this in it.

Traveler's Pavilion

Sunrise brightens my autumn window.
Winds have once again stripped trees.

The morning sun slips between cold mountains.
The river runs through last night's mist.

Our court makes use of everything it can,
but what's the use of a sick old man?

And what of my one life remains,
rising or falling on autumn winds?

Tu Fu (712-770)

My heart skips a couple of beats. My breath stops for a few moments. Then I pass on to the next bittersweet poem.


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