Reading Teng Fang's Poems

Many poem collections on my dusty shelves —
I choose a volume at random and open it.
Before I've noted the author's name
I think I'm reading poems by T'ao Ch'ien.
Then I look at the name, see it's you,
and pity all at once overwhelms me.
Poets too often meet trouble and hardship —
we see it in particular these days.
Tu Tzu-mei of the capital region
still got to be a Reminder,
Meng Hao-jan of Hsiang-yang
lived to see his temples turn gray.
You, alas, were not as lucky as either of these,
at thirty still in a commoner's hemp robe.
You passed the exam but got no stipend,
were engaged but hadn't yet married;
in younger years a stranger to illness,
suddenly you died in the midst of life's journey.
Heaven granted you neither rank nor longevity,
only a talent for beautiful words.
Don't ask me the reasons behind this —
the cleverest fortune-teller could never divine them!
Author of original: 
Po Ch├╝-i
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.