Taking Leave of Friends on My Way to Huazhou
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-04-26 10:41:47

Taking Leave of Friends on My Way to Huazhou by Du Fu





English Translation

In the second year of Zhide, I escaped from the capital through the Gate of Golden Light and went to Fengxiang. In the first year of Qianyuan, I was appointed as official to Huazhou from my former post of Censor. Friends and relatives gathered and saw me leave by the same gate. And I wrote this poem.

This is the road by which I fled,

When the rebels had reached the west end of the city;

And terror, ever since, has clutched at my vitals

Lest some of my soul should never return.

...The court has come back now, filling the capital;

But the Emperor sends me away again.

Useless and old, I rein in my horse

For one last look at the thousand gates.


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.

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