BLACK CAT POEMS
html website builder
The Runners of Shih Hao
translated by W. J. B. Fletcher
An incident of civil war
The twilight gloamed. At Shih-hao Tsun I stayed.
Night soldiers brought the inmates to arrest.
The old man leapt the wall and fled afraid:
To meet them issued his old wife distressed.
Shouted the soldiers tones in anger strong.
The woman's voice was broken with her woe.
I heard her say that her three sons had gone
To war at Yeh-ch'eng. They were forced to go.
That two were dead the last one wrote to say:
And he in constant jeopardy, he wrote.
Those dead were gone forever. Aye! Aye! Aye!
(With what a choke the words tore up her throat.)
Within the house there now was no one left--
Only her infant grandson at the breast,
And his poor mother, thus of all bereft,
In worn and tattered robe was scantily dressed.
The poor old soul, enfeebled, aged and worn,
Through the dark night must with the soldiers go--
Her enemies! With agitation torn,
To cook a meal she hurries to and fro.
Their voices' sound the lengthening hours consume:
And weeping dies in strangling sobs away.
The light returns.--As I my road resume,
But sad farewells to that old man I say.
poems by Du Fu