Lament of a Homeless
Since the rebellion I feel lone,
My house with weeds is overgrown.
A hundred homes can find no rest;
People are scattered east and west.
None knows where the living have fled,
While to dust have returned the dead.
My humble self after the defeat
Come back to find my old retreat.
I walk long on deserted lanes.
The sun grows lean where drear air reigns.
In face of bristling fox or cat,
I am afraid to be growled at.
How many neighbors left, all told?
Only one or two widows old.
A bird will not leave its own nest,
My house, though poor, will give me rest.
To hoe up weeds in spring’s my lot,
At dusk I water garden plot.
The magistrate knowing I’ve come
Orders me to learn to beat drum.
For service in my native land,
I need not carry things in hand.
Alone, I care not where to stay,
Be it near by or far away.
The land’s in ruins and debris,
The distance means nothing to me.
Sick for five years, my mother died
Unburied, with none by her side.
She gave birth to me, is it wrong?
How to repay her all life long?
I have no home to say goodbye.
What can poor people do but sigh!
The poem “Lament of a Homeless” is one of the newly-titled musical poems “Three Officials and Three Farewells” composed by the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu. The poem is about a soldier who was defeated in Yecheng and returned to his hometown without a home and was conscripted again, reflecting through his ordeal the desolation of the countryside and the misery of the people in the war zone at that time, and a powerful rebuke of the brutality and decadence of the rulers. The whole poem is a blend of scenes and scenes, and is deeply moving. Although the poem is painful and poignant, and the criticism is strong and profound, it is not just a straightforward statement, but a sentimental expression of feelings through scenes, objects and events, showing a touching artistic charm.