Many People Come to Visit and Bring Wine After I Fell Off My Horse, Drunk
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-02-24 18:37:56

Many People Come to Visit and Bring Wine After I Fell Off My Horse, Drunk by Du Fu















English Translation

I, Du Fu, the duke's elderly guest,

Finished my wine, drunkenly sang, and waved a golden halberd.

I mounted my horse and suddenly remembered the days of my youth,

The flying hooves sent stones pouring down into Qutang gorge.

Baidicheng's city gates are beyond the water's clouds,

Bending over, I plunged straight down eight thousand feet.

Whitewashed battlements passed like lightning, the purple reins were loose,

Then east, I reached the level ridge, out past heaven's cliff.

River villages and country halls vied to enter my eyes,

The whip hung down, the bridle drooped, I reached the crimson road.

All the ten thousand people amazed by my silver head,

I trusted to the riding and shooting skills of my rosy-cheeked youth.

How could I know that bursting its chest, hooves chasing the wind,

That racing horse, red with sweat, breathing spurts of jade,

Would unexpectedly take a tumble and end up injuring me?

In human life, taking pleasure often leads to shame.

That's why I'm feeling sad, lying on quilts and pillows,

Being in the sunset of my life only adds to the bother.

When I knew you'd come to visit, I wanted to hide my face,

With a bramble stick I manage to rise, leaning on a servant.

Then, after we've finished talking, we open our mouths and laugh,

Giving me support, you help to sweep by the clear stream's bend.

Wine and meat are piled up like mountains once again,

The feast starts: sad strings and brave bamboo sound out.

Together, we point to the western sun, not to be granted us long,

Noise and exclamations, then we tip the cup of clear wine.

Why did you have to hurry your horses, coming to ask after me?

Don't you remember Xi Kang, who nourished life and got killed?

This poem dates from around 766.

Qutang gorge is the westernmost of the Three Gorges.

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 Chinese Poems in English