The Ghost-Road (Tu Fu [712–770])

The winds and pines are whispering,
The river girds in its flight,
My footfalls sound through ancient tiles
Where gray rats flit from sight.
What monarch raised these palace walls?
Who knows today his name
Who left behind that precipice
The stone wrack of his fame?
Like jets of dusky blue I see
Ghosts from the gloom arise,
Down the forgotten road return
Strange rumors and faint sighs.
The thousand voices of the void
Blend to a chant bizarre,
And the purple leaves are carpeted
For Autumn’s avatar.
The death-doomed legions thunder past,
In the wake of fleeting years;
I fain would drown their tramp with song,
But all my songs are tears.

[A rare rhyming Chinese poem; maybe due to
translator? I’m not a scholar.]

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