On River Han
On River Han my home thoughts fly,
Bookworm with worldly ways in fright.
The cloud and I share the vast sky;
I’m lonely as the moon all night.
My heart won’t sink with sinking sun;
West wind blows my illness away.
A jaded horse may not have done,
Though it cannot go a long way.
The poet compares himself to a jaded horse which can still run but not a long way.
“On River Han” is a poem in five lines written by Du Fu, a great poet of the Tang Dynasty. The poem describes what the poet saw and felt while wandering in the area of Jianghan, and how he did not become pessimistic and depressed due to his difficult situation and old age, and concentrates on the spirit of “a martyr in his twilight years has a strong heart. Although the poem is euphemistic and subtle, it is very touching.