from The Book of Songs, No. 124

Leonard Durso

I climb that wooded hill
And look towards where my father is.
My father is saying, ‘Alas, my son is on service;
Day and night he knows no rest.
Grant that he is being careful of himself,
So that he may come back and not be left behind.’

I climb that bare hill
And look towards where my mother is.
My mother is saying, ‘Alas, my young one is on service;
Day and night he gets no sleep.
Grant that he is being careful of himself,
So that he may come back, and not be cast away.’

I climb that ridge
And look towards where my elder brother is.
My brother is saying, ‘Alas, my young brother is on service;
Day and night he toils.
Grant that he is being careful of himself,
So that he may come back and not die.’

translated by Arthur Waley

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