Autumn Meditations – Du Fu

Autumn Meditations (1)
Du Fu

Jade dew withers and wounds the groves of maple trees,
On Wu mountain, in Wu gorge, the air is dull and drear.
On the river surging waves rise to meet the sky,
Above the pass wind and cloud join the earth with darkness.
Chrysanthemum bushes open twice, weeping for their days,
A lonely boat, a single line, my heart is full of home.
Winter clothes everywhere are urgently cut and measured,
Baidicheng above, the evening’s driven by beating on stones.

Autumn Meditations (2)
Du Fu

Over Kuizhou’s lonely wall, the setting sun slants,
Every day I follow the Plough to look to the capital city.
I hear an ape; the third call really makes tears fall,
Undertaking a mission, in vain I follow the eighth month raft.
The muralled ministry’s incense stove is far from my hidden pillow,
The mountain tower’s white battlements hide the sad reed flutes.
Just look at the moonlight on the creepers that cover the stones,
Already in front of the islet, the rushes and reed flowers shine!

Autumn Meditations (3)
Du Fu

A mountain suburb of a thousand homes in the quiet morning light,
All day I sit by the river in my tower on the green hill.
For two nights the fishermen have stayed there floating, floating,
In the clear autumn still the swallows fly and fly.
Kuang Heng submitted memorials; I’ve won little praise,
Liu Xiang passed on the classics; my wishes are not realised.
The schoolmates of my early years mostly are not poor,
In the five tomb towns their furs and horses light and fat.

Autumn Meditations (4)
Du Fu

I’ve heard them say that Chang’an seems like in a game of chess,
A hundred years of world events have caused unbearable pain.
The palaces of the noblemen all have their new masters,
Civil and military dress and caps are not like those before.
Straight north over mountain passes, gongs and drums ring out,
Conquering the west, carts and horses, feather-hurried dispatches.
The fish and dragons are still and silent, the autumn river cold,
A peaceful life in my homeland always in my thoughts.

Autumn Meditations (5)
Du Fu

Penglai imperial palace faces the southern hill,
A golden stem to catch the dew is high up in the sky.
Gazing west, the Queen Mother descends at the Jade Lake,
From the east, Han pass is filled with purple vapour.
Like shifting cloud, the pheasant tail screens of the palace open,
Bathed in sun of dragon scales, I know the holy face.
Now I lie by this cold river, amazed the year’s so late,
How many times by the blue chains was I there in the morning court?

Autumn Meditations (6)
Du Fu

The mouth of the Qutang Gorge, the bank of the Bending River,
Ten thousand miles of wind and mist join them in pale autumn.
Through Calyx Hall’s hidden passage the imperial aura passed,
Now the little Lotus Park is filled with border sorrows.
Pearls on curtains, embroidery on pillars, around the yellow cranes,
From brocade hawsers and ivory masts rise the white gulls.
I turn my head, sad now for the place of song and dance,
Qin has been since olden days the land of emperors.

Autumn Meditations (7)
Du Fu

The waters of the Kunming Lake were made in the time of Han,
Banners and flags of the martial emperor are still in my mind’s eye.
The weaver girl’s loom and thread are idle beneath the night’s moon,
The stone whale’s scales and armour move in the autumn wind.
Waves toss the wild rice seeds, black clouds sink,
Dew chills the lotus pod, red powder falls.
Between the passes at the end of the sky only birds can travel,
Rivers and lakes fill this land; there’s one old fisherman.

Autumn Meditations (8)
Du Fu

From Kunwu, Yusu river winds round and round,
Purple Tower mountain’s shadow enters Meipi lake.
Fragrant rice; pecking; leaving surplus; parrots; grains;
Emerald wutong; perching; growing old; phoenixes; branches.
Beautiful women gather green feathers, talk to each other in spring,
Immortal companions share a boat, move on in the evening.
My coloured brush in olden days captured the image of life,
My white head drones and gazes, bitterly hanging low.

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