Monday, February 8, 2016

Du Fu's A Guest Arrives

A toast to Chinese New Year with Du Fu.

South of my hut,
north of my hut,
all is spring water,
A flock of gulls
is all I see come each day.

The floral path
has never been swept for a guest,
Today for the first time
the rough gate opens for the gentleman.

Far from the market,
my food has little taste,
My poor home can offer only
stale and cloudy wine.

Consent to have a drink
with my elderly neighbour,
At the fence I'll call him,
then we'll finish it off.


— Du Fu


Du Fu is regarded as one of the great poets of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) though it was not until the Song Dynasty (960–1279) that Du Fu's work gained favor in China. Critics have referred to the Confucian poet as the "poet historian." Rivaled only by Li Bo in terms of influence, Du Fu's earliest surviving poem describes a poetry contest. 

Kenneth Rexroth described Du Fu as, "the greatest non-epic, non-dramatic poet who has survived in any language."