Sorrow at River Head 1

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Small farmer's shop on site of Tang Dynasty 曲江, Bent River

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Sorrow at River Head 1
        Du fu 712-770

This old cogger chokes back his sobs,
In spring steals back to Bent River bend.
At river head palace doors all locked,
Graceful willows, for whom do they turn green?
I recall in the south garden 
        the dance of the Rainbow Feathers,
Everywhere life flushed in radiant colors....
Āi Jiāngtóu
Shǎolíng yělǎo tūnshēng kū,
Chūnrì qiánxíng Qūjiāng qū.
Jiāngtóu gōngdiàn suǒ qiānmén,
Xì liǔ xīn pú wèi shei yuán.
Yìxī níjīng xià nán yuàn,
Yuàn zhōng wànwù shēng yánsè.
Translator: Dongbo 東波

In757, at the time of the 安祿山 An Lushan Rebellion, Du Fu was captured and and placed in Changan under guard. one day he managed to sneak to the site of the 曲江 Qujiang, Bent River where the emperor had built a pleasure palace where he cavorted with his favorite concubine Yang Guifei. Du Fu found the Bent River pleasure palace deserted and locked.

Today, in the spring of 2004, one thousand two hundred and fourty seven years later, there are no remains of the palace or the Bent River (actually it was a lake rather than a river). Between the Y of two roads are small farm plots of safflower oil plants and this farmer's shack.

This is a truncated version of this poem. See complete poem Sorrow At River Head 2.

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Shǎnxī 陝西
Xīān (Chángān) 西安 (長安)