On the Way from the Capital to Fengxian
The mansions burst with wine and meat;
The poor die frozen on the street.
Woe stands within an inch of weal.
Distressed, can I tell what I feel?
The poem “On the Way from the Capital to Fengxian (Excerpts) ” is a poem written by the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu. The poem was written when Du Fu was visiting his wife and children in Fengxian County (present-day Pucheng, Shaanxi Province) from Chang’an shortly after he was appointed as a cadet in the Right Guard Office. The poet’s thoughts and emotions, such as concern for the country and the people, loyalty to the emperor, nostalgia for his family, and unfulfilled talent, are intricately woven together to form this vast and depressing masterpiece. The poem profoundly reflects the acute social contradictions of the time, and the famous line “The wine and flesh of the vermilion gate stinks, and the bones of the road are frozen to death” reveals the social reality of the disparity between the rich and the poor. The poem reflects the hardships of the people and exposes the desolation and corruption of the ruling clique, making it the first full-length work in Du Fu’s “epic”.