We have talent. People call us
The heading 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.
by Tu Fu
Translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth.
Tu Fu, 712-770, also known as Du Fu, is considered to be one of China’s greatest poets of the Tang dynasty.
Image: stone rubbing, Qing dynasty (1644–1911/12).