The Night in an Attic

Du, Fu (712 A.D.-770 A.D.)

Toward the end of the year,

The sun and the moon hurry to shorten the daytime.
I am far away from home.
The night becomes chilly as the rain and snow stop.
At dawn the sound of drums and bugles is solemn and tragic.
From the Three Gorges the image of the Milky Way wavers.
When they hear the war drums,
A thousand houses cry in the countryside.
Once in a while,
I hear the fishermen and the lumberjacks sing the local folk songs.
Even the Couching Dragon and the One Who Jumped on a Horse 1 ultimately became yellow soil 2.
Since I have lost contact with my family, I should accept loneliness.

1 Du's poem was written in 766 A.D. when he lived in Kui City. There was the Temple of Zhu-ge to the west of the city and the Temple of the White Emperor to the southeast, so Du used them in his poem.
    The Crouching Dragon refers to Liang Zhu-ge, the great Prime Minister of Country Shu-han, who once lived on Crouching Dragon Mountain. The One who Jumped on a Horse refers to Shu Gong-sun. In "The Poem of the Capital City of Country Shu", Si Zuo, a great poet in the Jin dynasty, says, "Gong-sun jumped on a horse and declared himself emperor." He was known as the White Emperor.

2 Yellow soil refers to the soil in a cemetery.