A bird of prey in the sky soaring high
Two white gulls on the river walking by
The predator, ready to strike, floating on the wind,
The prey, mewing, lazily rocking to and fro
Why is the grass wet with dew?
Why is a spider web untouched?
Heaven’s mysteries remain unanswered?
And I, stand alone, with ten thousand worries
Standing alone, Du Fu, circa 758
Hello Du Fu
If the 20th century British pop group The Beatles met 8th century poet and Chinese superstar, Du Fu what song and what poem would they care to share with one another?
For the Beatles I have chosen Let It Be and for Du Fu, Standing Alone.
When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be…
Let it be, The Beatles (1970)
Art is a shared experience. And a good song or poem is timeless. What words of wisdom do John, Paul, George and Ringo have for the deeply worried Du Fu? As you read along, ask yourself is Du Fu the seagull taken or left behind? (By 758, Du Fu’s career was descending.) Is John Lennon the Walrus? (A reference to the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.) What am I, what are you? Is Du Fu the Confucian, seeking but never attaining perfection; are the Beatles disciples of Buddha, accepting?
Du Fu’s Original Chinese