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To Pi Ssu Yao

Du Fu (713-770)

We have talent. People call us
The leading poets of our day.
Too bad, our homes are humble,
Our recognition trivial.
Hungry, ill-clothed, servants treat
Us with contempt. In the prime
Of life, our faces are wrinkled.
Who cares about either of us,
Or our troubles? We are our own
Audience. We appreciate each other’s literary
Merits. Our poems will be handed
Down along with great dead poets’.
We can console each other.
At least we shall have descendants.

Translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth


Taken from A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, compiled by Czesław Miłosz