The winds rage and monkeys wail,
Birds return to sandy vale.
Endless trees their leaves exhale,
Yangtze River, rolling tale.
Sad autumn, my constant friend,
Years a traveler, until the end.
Illness, a shadow, I must bend,
Alone atop this height ascend.
Hard hardships, bitter pain,
White hair and heart with scars ingrained.
Cup of sorrow, I pause to drain,
After all the tears and strains.
This poem was written in the autumn of 767 A.D. (the second year of Zong Dali in Tang Dynasty). At that time, the Anshi Rebellion had been over for four years, but local warlords took advantage of the time and competed with each other for territory. Du Fu originally entered the Yanwu shogunate and relied on Yanwu. Soon after Yan Wu died of illness, Du Fu lost his support, so he had to leave the Chengdu Thatched Cottage, which had been in business for five or six years, and bought a boat to go south. I wanted to go directly to Kuimen, but because of illness, I stayed in Yun’an for several months before arriving in Kuizhou.
If it weren’t for the care of the local governor, it would be impossible for him to live here for three years. But in these three years, his life was still very difficult, and his health was also very bad. This poem was written by the fifty-six-year-old poet under such extreme embarrassment. On that day, he climbed to the high platform outside the Baidi City in Kuizhou alone, and he had mixed feelings when he climbed up and looked at it. What he saw in his eyes aroused what he felt in his heart; the bleak autumn river scenery aroused his emotion of wandering life experience, and infiltrated his sorrow of old age, sickness and loneliness. Thus, there was this “Climbing the High”, known as the “Crown of the Seven Laws”.
Image: MidJourney/DALL-E 2