A Spring View 春望
by Du Fu
The country is broken, but its rivers and mountains remain;
As spring comes, the weed grows in the forsaken city.
The petals have shed like tears ;
The birds have sung in sorrow.
The signal fire has been burning for three months;
A letter from home is worth a ton of gold.
I scratch my white hair, which has become too sparse
To hold my hairpins.
Translated by musketeerleoleo
The Poet Sage: Du Fu
Du Fu (712-770) (杜甫 Dù Fǔ) also known as Dù Shàolíng (杜少陵) or Dù Gōngbù (杜工部) was a prominent Chinese poet during the Tang Dynasty. His courtesy name was Zǐ Měi (子美). He has been recognized as one of the greatest Chinese poets, along with another prominent poet, Li Po. As he always reflected a true picture of the suffering of the country and expressed his sympathy towards the people in his works, Chinese critics call him “poet historian" and "poet sage” .
The Background of the Poem
This poem was written in the era of instability. In 755, An Lushan rebelled the government and attempted to usurp the throne, which is known as the An Lushan Rebellion. The Rebellion had caused a lot of destruction in the country and destabilized the society. Many people lost their homes and families as the war fire spread across the country. In such chaos, no one was sure whether he could still stay with his family. No one knew what would happen after a day . He might be separated from the family. He might be wounded. He might die. As life is so invaluable and vulnerable in warfare, when a family received a letter from its member saying that he was still alive, they treated it as treasure.
Other Poems by Du Fu
The Premier of Shu
Du Fu Tu Fu