Li Bai: Sad Mournful Song

Sad Mournful Song

丁 都 护 歌
云 阳 上 征 去
两 岸 饶 商 贾。
吴 牛 喘 月 时
拖 船 一 何 苦!
水 浊 不 可 饮
壶 浆 半 成 土。
一 唱 都 护 歌
心 摧 泪 如 雨。
万 人 系 盘 石
无 由 达 江 浒。
君 看 石 芒 砀
掩泪悲千古。
Ding Dou Hu Ge

Yun yang shang zheng qu
Liang an rao shang gu.
Wu niu chuan yue shi
Tuo chuan yi he ku!

Shui zhuo bu ke yin
Hu jiang ban cheng tu.
Yi chang dou hu ge
Xin cui lei ru you.

Wan ren ji pan shi
Wu you da jiang hu.
Jun kan shi mang dang
Yan lei bei qian gu.

 

Sad Mournful Song

Depart for a long, hard journey to Yun Yang
Male merchants line both riverbanks.
Wu water buffalo breathe heavily, mistaking a full moon for the sun
Those pulling the boats upriver suffer so much!

River water so muddy, not able to drink
Half of the worker’s water flasks filled with dirt.
One sad and mournful song chanted
Broken heart-minds, tears fall like rain.

Multitudes fasten ropes onto large boulders
Without knowing why, rocks reach the riverbanks.
You can see stones from Mt. Mangdang
Hidden tears and rocks have been moved like this for a thousand years.

 

Notes:

Wu water buffalo: Asian water buffalo

Mt. Mangdang: Near Yongcheng city, and noted as a scenic area as well as its Han Dynasty tombs.

 

Commentary:

These travel methods continued into the 1970’s in China.

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