Spring View
Du Fu

Country damaged mountains rivers here
City spring grass trees deep
Feel moment flower splash tears
Regret parting bird startle heart
Beacon fires join three months
Family letters worth ten thousand metal
White head scratch become thin
Virtually about to not bear hairpin
The country is broken, though hills and rivers remain,
In the city in spring, grass and trees are thick.
Moved by the moment, a flower's splashed with tears,
Mourning parting, a bird startles the heart.
The beacon fires have joined for three months now,
Family letters are worth ten thousand pieces.
I scratch my head, its white hairs growing thinner,
And barely able now to hold a hairpin.

Note: the hairpin of the last line was used to hold in place the caps worn by Chinese officials.

View Chinese text in traditional characters.

Read an essay on this site discussing the issues involved in translating Spring View, or the analysis of the poem by Paul Rouzer at Asian Topics.
Other Chinese poems about Separation, Spring, Age and War.