Du Fu: The Uncertain Roads We Travel With Everyone

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The Uncertain Roads We Travel With Everyone

莫 相 疑 行
男 儿 生 无 所 成 头 皓 白
牙 齿 欲 落 镇 可 惜。
忆 献 三 赋 逢 莱 宫
自 怪 一 日 声 辉 赫。
集 贤 学 土 如 堵 墙
观 我 落 笔 中 书 堂。
往 时 文 采 动 人 主
此 日 饥 寒 趋 路 旁。
晚 将 未 契 托 年 少
当 面 输 心 背 面 笑。
寄 谢 悠 悠 世 上 儿
不 争 好 恶 莫 相 疑!
Mo Xiang Yi Xing

Nan er sheng wu suo cheng tou hao bai
Ya chi yu luo zhen ke xi.
Yi xian san fu peng lai gong
Zi guai yi ri sheng hui he.

Ji xian xue tu ru du qiang
Guan wo luo bi zhong shu tang.
Wang shi wen cai dong ren zhu
Ci ri ji han qu lu pang.

Wan jiang wei qi tuo nian shao
Dang mian shu xin bei mian xiao.
Ji xie you you shi shang er
Bu zheng hao wu mo xiang yi!

 

The Uncertain Roads We Travel With Everyone

A man’s life with successes produces a lot of white hair
Such a shame that my teeth are expected to fall out.
Recall that years ago I wrote the Three Poems honoring palace areas and people, including Penglai.
Naturally it was strange that in one day my glowing and distinguished reputation was known far and wide.

The Jixian building was chock full of the talented literati
The main hall of government ministers watched me in action with my writing brush.
At this time, my writing style was widely admired
After the rebellion, I was quickly kicked aside to starve and freeze.

Years later my palace contacts are few and distant
With faces smiling, their true hearts want nothing to do with me.
Thankful for the lessons I learned from the many and diverse people I have met along the way
Do not need to be concerned with where everyone will wind up.

 

Notes:

Penglai: Mythological islands off the coast of eastern China. Home of the immortals like the Greek Mt. Olympus.

Jixian: Henan Province and ancient name for Weihui.

 

Commentary:

Du Fu wrote this nostalgic poem about his time in the palace before the An Lushan rebellion in 756 AD.  With this event his life totally changed.

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