Thinking of Li Po at Sky’s End (after Tu Fu)

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Thinking of Li Po at Sky’s End (after Tu Fu)

Cold wind rises at the sky’s end.
What does he consider?
And when will the geese arrive?
The rivers and lakes are full this autumn
but poets’ fates are seldom pleasant.
Demons love to see us fail.
Let’s think of dead Ch’u Yuan
and offer poems to the river.

 

The transliteration on Chinesepoems.com reads:

 

Thinking of Li Po at the End of the Sky

Cold wind rise sky end
Gentleman thought resemble what?
Goose what time come?
River lake autumn water much
Literature hate fate eminent
Demons happy people failure
Respond together wronged person language
Throw poems give Miluo

 

According to the notes at Chinesepoems.com, the wild goose is a symbol of autumn, letters and travellers in difficulties. The wronged person is Qu Yuan, a poet of the fourth century BC who drowned himself in the Miluo river – another exiled poet later threw some verses into the river as an offering to him.

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9 thoughts on “Thinking of Li Po at Sky’s End (after Tu Fu)

  1. Do you suppose that “sky end” is the base of a mountain, or even its peak? If it’s at the peak (or somewhere high on the slope), looking out over the rivers and lakes while watching for geese could bring thoughts of those who don’t return.
    But then, if it’s at the base, it’s easy to think of the writer being on that riverbank making an offering while watching the sky.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Drunken Sleep (visiting Tu Mu) | rivrvlogr

  3. Sky’s end caught my eye as well … a puzzle … since the sky is continuous wrapped about our planet. But poetically, horizons appear as sky’s end. Were Li Po and Qu Yuan into planetary perspectives? Guessing they were more oriented to panoramas within view. Though sky’s end perhaps metaphor for human death? Sad story behind all this. (Your version certainly easier to follow than the original!)

    Liked by 1 person

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