The nation may be in shambles, but the hills and streams remain,
As spring brings life to the deep forests and fields again.
Tears fall like rain, as the flowers sense the pain,
And birds, with restless hearts, cry out in mournful refrain.
Beacon fires burn for three long months, letter to home so rare,
Worth more than gold, as it brings comfort to hearts so fair.
Gray hair now thin and scarce, a struggle just to tie it back,
My hairpin, a symbol of a life once full, now forever in lack.
An Lushan rebelled against the Tang Dynasty. Because Yang Guozhong, the elder brother of Emperor Xuanzong’s favored concubine Yang Guifei, misled Tang Xuanzong, he sent Ge Shuhan, who was guarding Tongguan, to attack the rebel base camp outside the pass, and Ge Shuhan was captured halfway. An Lushan had no strong enemies, and he captured Chang’an in one fell swoop. Tang Xuanzong led his concubines and princes, and fled to Lingwu with his ministers. Tang Xuanzong abdicated, and Prince Li Heng proclaimed himself emperor in Lingwu.
In August of the first year of Tang Suzong Zhide (756), Du Fu went from Fu (fū) Prefecture (now Fuxian County, Shaanxi) to Lingwu (now Ningxia) to join Tang Suzong. He was captured by rebels on the way and was trapped in Chang’an. The poem was written in March of the following year.
This is a five-character regulated poem written in the second year of Tang Suzong Zhide (757). At that time, Chang’an was burned and looted by the Anshi rebels, and it was full of desolation. Du Fu sees the mountains and rivers are still the same but the country is ruined and the family is destroyed, and the land is full of desolation in spring. At this time of adversity and homesickness, Du Fu can’t help touching the scene and expressing deep sadness and infinite emotion. The poet expresses patriotism in this poem.
Image: MidJourney/DALL-E 2