Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The little cart

The little cart jolting and banging through the yellow haze of dusk;
The man pushing behind, the woman pulling in front.
They have left the city and do not know where to go.
'Green, green, those elm tree leaves; they will cure my hunger,
If only we could find some quiet place and sup them together.'

The wind has flattened the yellow mother-wort;
Above it in the distance they see the walls of a house.
'There surely must be people living who'll give you something to eat.'
They tap at the door, but no one comes; they look in, but the kitchen
is empty.
They stand hesitating in the lonely road and their tears fall like rain.

Ch'en Tzu-Lung (1608-1647) trans: A Waley

A peasant uprising as a result of a severe drought led to the collapse of the Ming Dynasty in 1644.


  1. These poems are so difficult to translate Gwilym. I have a poem written on rice paper, which I bought in China some years ago. I have asked several Chinese to translate it and they always say poetry is too difficult for the to translate. Whoever translated this has managed to keep that simple beauty that is so much a part of Chinese poetry.

  2. really tender words from this chinese writer Gwilym. This is what I would love to work towards.all said in so few lines.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.