The Snow Is My Only Companion

This poem was written by Du Fu who is considered to be one of China’s greatest poets of the Tang dynasty.

Du Fu was born to a minor scholar-official in Henan Province. His mother died while he was young, and an aunt helped raised him.

Du Fu is often described as a poet-historian, and his works convey the emotional impact and import of political and social issues and register a range of private concerns, trials, and dramas. His poems are remarkable for their range of moods as well as contents.

Alan and I worked on the translation together on this piece. You may read more of Alan’s translation work on Chinese, Spanish poetry, own poetry and essays here.

对雪

战哭多新鬼
愁吟独老翁

乱云低薄暮
急雪舞回风

瓢弃樽无绿
炉存火似红

数州消息断
愁坐正书空

After the battle, we mourn for the dead;
I’m old and alone, grief filling my head.

Dark, ominous clouds are filtering down;
The cold wind and snow are swirling around.

There is no wine left in the calabash bowl,
But the stove is still hot from the smoldering coal.

The news cannot reach us from our dearest kin;
I sit down to write, but I cannot begin.

Grieving the Autumn Rains I

This poem was written by Du Fu in 754. He was a Chinese poet and politician of the Tang dynasty.
Alan Steinle (Alan’s work) and I worked on the translation together.

秋雨叹三首 (一)

雨中百草秋烂死
阶下决明颜色鲜
著叶满枝翠羽盖
开花无数黄金钱
凉风萧萧吹汝急
恐汝后时难独立
堂上书生空白头
临风三嗅馨香泣

The grass has decayed from all the rain we’ve seen,
But the cassia below the steps remains bright green.

Your feather-like leaves escaped the autumn showers;
Like golden coins are your many blooming flowers.

You can feel the bitter wind’s persistent attack;
Can your stalk endure the force, or will it crack?

Above the steps, I let down my graying hair;
I smell the fragrant cassia, but I feel despair.

Moonlit Night

Translation collaboration with Alan Steinle

Moonlit Night is the collaborated translation of a classic Chinese poem (月夜) written by Du Fu 杜甫 (712 – 770), a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty. 

月夜 月夜 Moonlit Night
今夜鄜州月 今夜鄜州月 The moon shines brightly on Fuzhou tonight;
閨中衹獨看 闺中只独看 Alone in her room, she looks at the light;
遙憐小兒女 遥怜小儿女 She pities her children, so far from their dad;
未解憶長安 未解忆长安 She misses Chang’an—she’s lonely and sad;
香霧雲鬟濕 香雾云鬟湿 Her long supple hair with perfume is sprayed;
清輝玉臂寒 清辉玉臂寒 The clear moon shines on cool arms of jade;
何時倚虛幌 何时倚虚幌 When, near the curtain, will our hearts soar?
雙照淚痕乾 双照泪痕干 We’ll sit in the moonlight, tears falling no more!