from Dreaming of Li Po, Two Poems by Tu Fu: Poem 2

Drifting clouds pass by all day long;
The wanderer is long in getting here.
Three nights now you’ve entered my dreams–
Which shows how good a friend you are.
But your leave-takings are hurried,
Bitterly you say, it’s not easy to come;
The river’s waters are wind-blown and choppy,
And you’re afraid to lose your oars.
Outside the door, you scratch your white head,
As if a lifetime’s ambition were forfeit.
Officials teem in the capital city,
Yet you alone are wretched.
Who says the net is wide,
When it tangles such a man in his old age?
An imperishable fame of a thousand years
Is but a paltry, after-life affair.

translated by Eugene Eoyang

7 thoughts on “from Dreaming of Li Po, Two Poems by Tu Fu: Poem 2

  1. I can imagine how one could be influenced by them, they are so beautiful and a pleasure to read – and talking of pleasure to read, your book is a pleasure. I should be reading more of it, apologies but I never go to bed until around 5am and there is always something to be done. The passion Rizzo has for Burco my goodness one can feel it, its powerful. Half way through your book, love it.

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