Poetry by Du Mu (9th century Chinese Poet)

Poems for Parting
By Du Mu

(Translated from the Chinese by David Young and Jiann I. Lin)


So slender and so graceful
not much more than thirteen

the tip of a cardamom branch in spring
just about to bud

ten miles down the Yangzhou road
and the spring winds were blowing

lots of women since, bead curtains lifting,
but never like that again.


Too much love
somehow became
no love at all

over this farewell bottle
we can’t manage
even a friendly smile

only the candle
seems to be able
to generate some feeling

all night
it weeps
little wax tears.

The poem by the renowned Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty (9th century)is a delightful love poem .”All night ,it weeps little wax tears”-a beautiful image.

Another delicately beautiful poem by Du Mu is :

Country Journey
A poem by Du Mu

(Translated from the Chinese by David Young and Jiann I. Lin)

Halfway through spring
the sun sets as I pass Nanyang

under tender mulberry trees
I enter a quiet village

weeping willows
stir softly in the wind

under pelting raindrops
the fishpond’s filled with circles

the cowherd boy
wears a rain-cloak, singing

peeps through a bamboo fence
to glimpse a girl’s red skirt

I peel away my damp
traveling cape and jacket

just as my host brings out
a bowl of chicken and millet.

The charm of these nature poems has not waned after 10 centuries.The simplicity and the freshness of the poems make them a delight to read whenever you feel too much hemmed in by the urban decay surrounding us .Especially the village poem which conveys a sense of vast spaces punctuated by straggling villages .
I love the cowherd boy peeping through the bamboo fence to get a glimpse of the red skirt.