ALONE IN HER BEAUTY


Du Fu

Who is lovelier than she?
Yet she lives alone in an empty valley.
She tells me she came from a good family
Which is humbled now into the dust.
…When trouble arose in the Kuan district

Her brothers and close kin were killed.
What use were their high offices

Not even shielding their own lives? —
The world has but scorn for adversity;
Hope goes outlike the light of a candle.

Her husbandwith a vagrant heart

Seeks a new face like a new piece of jade;
And when morning-glories furl at night
And mandarin-ducks lie side by side

All he can see is the smile of the new love

While the old love weeps unheard.
The brook was pure in its mountain source

But away from the mountain its waters darken.

Waiting for her maid to come from selling pearls
For straw to cover the roof again

She picks a few flowersno longer for her hair

And lets pine-needles fall through her fingers

Andforgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold

She leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo.


SEEING Li Bai IN A DREAM(

I )

Du Fu

There are sobs when death is the cause of parting;
But life has its partings again and again.
…From the poisonous damps of the southern river
You had sent me not one sign from your exile —
Till you came to me last night in a dream

Because I am always thinking of you.
I wondered if it were really you

Venturing so long a journey.
You came to me through the green of a forest

You disappeared by a shadowy fortress….
Yet out of the midmost mesh of your snare

How could you lift your wings and use them?
…I wokeand the low moon’s glimmer on a rafter

Seemed to be your facestill floating in the air.


There were waters to crossthey were wild and tossing;

If you fellthere were dragons and rivermonsters.