Home / Literature / Du Fu / A Poem by Du Fu : Song of the Wagons * 一首诗杜甫:兵车行

A Poem by Du Fu : Song of the Wagons * 一首诗杜甫:兵车行

Du Fu - 3

Song of the Wagons

Du Fu

兵车行

车辚辚
马萧萧
行人弓箭各在腰
耶娘妻子走相送
尘埃不见咸阳桥
牵衣顿足阑道哭
哭声直上干云霄
道傍过者问行人
行人但云点行频
或从十五北防河
便至四十西营田
去时里正与裹头
归来头白还戍边
边亭流血成海水
武皇开边意未已
君不闻汉家山东二百州
千村万落生荆杞
纵有健妇把锄犁
禾生陇亩无东西
况复秦兵耐苦战
被驱不异犬与鸡
长者虽有问
役夫敢申恨
且如今年冬
未休关西卒
县官急索租
租税从何出
信知生男恶
反是生女好
生女犹得嫁比邻
生男埋没随百草
君不见青海头
古来白骨无人收
新鬼烦冤旧鬼哭
天阴雨湿声啾啾

 

 Du Fu

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Song of the Wagons

Wagons rumble rumble
Horses whinny whinny
Foot person bow arrow each at waist
Father mother wife children go mutual see off
Dust dust not see Xianyang bridge
Pull clothes stamp foot bar way weep
Weep sound directly up strike clouds clouds
Road side passerby ask foot person
Foot person only say mark down often
Some from ten five north guard river
Even until four ten west army fields
Leave time village chief give bind head
Return come head white go back garrison border
Border post shed blood become sea water
Warlike emperor expand border idea no end
Gentleman not see Han homes hill east two hundred districts
1000 villages 10000 hamlets grow thorns trees
Though be strong women hold hoe plough
Seed grow dyked field not order
Besides again Qin soldier withstand bitter fighting
Be driven not different dogs and chickens
Venerable elder though be ask
Battle person dare state bitterness
Even like this year winter
Not stop pass west soldier
District official urgent demand tax
Tax tax way how pay
True know produce males bad
Contrast be produce females good
Produce female still get married neighbour
Produce male bury follow hundred grass
Gentleman not see Qinghai edge
Past come white skeleton no person gather
New ghost vexed injustice old ghosts weep
Heaven dark rain wet sound screech screech

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Another Translation:

Song of the Wagons

The wagons rumble and roll,
The horses whinny and neigh,
The conscripts each have bows and arrows at their waists.
Their parents, wives and children run to see them off,
So much dust’s stirred up, it hides the Xianyang bridge.
They pull clothes, stamp their feet and, weeping, bar the way,
The weeping voices rise straight up and strike the clouds.
A passer-by at the roadside asks a conscript why,
The conscript answers only that drafting happens often.
“At fifteen, many were sent north to guard the river,
Even at forty, they had to till fields in the west.
When we went away, the elders bound our heads,
Returning with heads white, we’re sent back off to the frontier.
At the border posts, shed blood becomes a sea,
The martial emperor’s dream of expansion has no end.
Have you not seen the two hundred districts east of the mountains,
Where thorns and brambles grow in countless villages and hamlets?
Although there are strong women to grasp the hoe and the plough,
They grow some crops, but there’s no order in the fields.
What’s more, we soldiers of Qin withstand the bitterest fighting,
We’re always driven onwards just like dogs and chickens.
Although an elder can ask me this,
How can a soldier dare to complain?
Even in this winter time,
Soldiers from west of the pass keep moving.
The magistrate is eager for taxes,
But how can we afford to pay?
We know now having boys is bad,
While having girls is for the best;
Our girls can still be married to the neighbours,
Our sons are merely buried amid the grass.
Have you not seen on the border of Qinghai,
The ancient bleached bones no man’s gathered in?
The new ghosts are angered by injustice, the old ghosts weep,
Moistening rain falls from dark heaven on the voices’ screeching.”

Du Fu

Du fu - 1

 

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