I enter the court
Through the middle gate—
And my sleeve is wet with tears.
The flowers still grow
Flower no flower
mist no mist
arrives at midnight
and leaves at dawn
Time hard year famine life land empty
Brothers live abroad each east west
Fields gardens few fall shield spear after
Bone flesh flow apart road road on
I treasure what front eaves face
and all that north windows frame.
Bamboo winds lavish out windows,
pine colors exquisite beyond eaves,
To light my way upon the stair,
In the wine I drink alone.
Ruined and ill—a man of two score;
Pretty and guileless—a girl of three.
Not a boy—but still better than nothing:
To soothe one’s feeling—from time to time a kiss!
In waters still as a burnished mirror's face,
In the depths of Wei, carp and grayling swim.
Idly I come with my bamboo fishing-rod
And hang my hook by the banks of Wei stream.
Since the disorders in Henan and the famine in Guannei, my brothers and sisters have been scattered. Looking at the moon, I express my thoughts in this poem, which I send to my eldest brother at Fuliang, my seventh brother at Yuqian, My fifteen brother at Wujiang and my younger brothers and sisters at Fuli and Xiagui.
My heritage lost through disorder and famine,
My brothers and sisters flung eastward and westward,
When I was almost forty
I had a daughter whose name was Golden Bells.
Now it is just a year since she was born;
She is learning to sit and cannot yet talk.