from the Yüeh-Fu: At Fifteen I Went To War

At fifteen I went to war.
At eighty now I made it home.
Meeting one from my village:
“Who now is at home?”
“Over there is your house.”
Pines, cypresses, tombs in clusters.
Rabbits come and go from dog-holes.
Pheasants fly upon the beams.
Middle of court: wild grains rise.
Well’s edge: wild mallows grow.
Grind grains to make rice.
Pick mallows to make soup.
Rice and soup soon ready.
But for whom?
Go to the east gate to look out:
Tears drench my clothes.

translated by Wai-lim Yip

4 thoughts on “from the Yüeh-Fu: At Fifteen I Went To War

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