Daily Poem: Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe ~ Tu Fu

January 23, 2018 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe
~ Tu Fu, China, 8th Century
Translated from Chinese by Carolyn Kizer
(I somehow doubt this was the original title of the piece, but the reference to Manet’s painting is an interesting choice.)

It’s pleasant to board the ferry in the sunscape
As the late light slants into the afternoon;
The faint wind ruffles the river, rimmed with foam.
We move through the aisles of bamboo
Towards the cool water lilies.

The young dandies drop ice into the drinks,
While the girls slice the succulent lotus root.
Above us, a patch of cloud spreads, darkening
Like a water-stain on silk.

Write this down quickly, before the rain!

Don’t sit there! The cushions were soaked by the shower.
Already the girls have drenched their crimson skirts.
Beauties, their powder streaked with mascara,
lament their ruined faces.

The wind batters our boat, the mooring-line
Has rubbed a wound in the willow bark.
The edges of the curtains are embroidered by the river foam,
Like a knife in a melon. Autumn slices Summer.

It will be cold, going back.


Antique Chinese Postcard

Antique Chinese Postcard

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