Rain, Four Poems: Two Selections

by Tu Fu

English version by William H. Nienhauser
Original Language Chinese


Light rain doesn't slick the road;
Broken clouds slack, then move again.
The foot of racing purple cliffs -- black;
At the horizon the white birds -- bright.
The autumn sun casts damp new shadows,
On the cold river, old familiar sounds of rain.
A brushwood cottage overlooks a rustic mill;
Half wet, the fresh-hulled fragrant rice.


This southern rain nourishes the mossy stones,
As it slows news from the capital.
In mountain's cold, a black bull lows;
By evening's river, a white gull cries his hunger.
Patterned hairpins of the Goddess drop;
The mermaid, sitting by her loom, mourns.
Cares will not come untangled,
Streaming down all day
In silken threads.

-- from Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, Edited by Wu-chi Liu / Edited by Irving Yucheng Lo

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Rain, Four Poems