Song of My Cottage Unroofed By Autumn Gales
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-03-25 11:45:58

Song of My Cottage Unroofed By Autumn Gales by Du Fu











English Translation

In the eighth month autumn's high winds angrily howl,

And sweep three layers of thatch from off my house.

The straw flies over the river, where it scatters,

Some is caught and hangs high up in the treetops,

Some floats down and sinks into the ditch.

The urchins from the southern village bully me, weak as I am;

They're cruel enough to rob me to my face,

Openly, they carry the straw into the bamboo.

My mouth and lips are dry from pointless calling,

I lean again on my cane and heave a sigh.

The wind soon calms, and the clouds turn the colour of ink;

The autumn sky has turned completely black.

My ancient cotton quilt is cold as iron,

My darling children sleep badly, and kick it apart.

The roof leaks over the bed- there's nowhere dry,

The rain falls thick as hemp, and without end.

Lost amid disorder, I hardly sleep,

Wet through, how can I last the long nights!

If I could get a mansion with a thousand, ten thousand rooms,

A great shelter for all the world's scholars, together in joy,

Solid as a mountain, the elements could not move it.

Oh! If I could see this house before me,

I'd happily freeze to death in my broken hut!

This poem describes the author's thatched cottage being broken by the autumn wind, resulting in the whole family being rained on, and expresses his inner feelings, reflecting the poet's lofty ideological state of mind of worrying about the country and the people, which is an exemplary work of Du Fu's Poetry.

Why Chinese poems is so special?
The most distinctive features of Chinese poetry are: concision- many poems are only four lines, and few are much longer than eight; ambiguity- number, tense and parts of speech are often undetermined, creating particularly rich interpretative possibilities; and structure- most poems follow quite strict formal patterns which have beauty in themselves as well as highlighting meaningful contrasts.
How to read a Chinese poem?
Like an English poem, but more so. Everything is there for a reason, so try to find that reason. Think about all the possible connotations, and be aware of the different possibilities of number and tense. Look for contrasts: within lines, between the lines of each couplet and between successive couplets. Above all, don't worry about what the poet meant- find your meaning.

© 2024 Famous Chinese Poems in English