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Du Fu: Rows of Old Cypress Trees

Rows of Old Cypress Trees


古 柏 行
孔 明 庙 前 有 老 柏
柯 如 青 铜 根 如 石。
霜 皮 溜 雨 四 十 围
黛 色 参 天 二 千 尺。
君 臣 已 与 时 际 会
树 木 犹 为 人 爱 惜。
云 来 气 接 巫 峡 长
月 出 寒 通 雪 山 白。
忆 昨 路 绕 锦 亭 东
先 主 武 侯 同 閟 宫。
崔 嵬 枝 干 郊 原 古
药 窕 丹 青 户 牖 空。
落 落 盘 踞 虽 得 地
冥 冥 孤 高 多 然 风。
扶 持 自 是 神 明 力
正 直 元 因 造 化 功。
大 厦 如 倾 要 梁 栋
万 牛 回 首 邱 山 重。
不 露 文 章 世 已 惊
未 辞 剪 伐 谁 能 送?
苦 心 岂 免 容 蝼 蚁
香 叶 终 经 宿 鸾 凤。
志 士 幽 人 莫 怨 嗟
古 来 材 大 难 为 用!
Gu Bai Hang

Kong ming miao qian you lao bai
Ke ru qing tong gen ru shi
Shuang pi liu yu si shi wei
Dai se can tian er qian chi.

Jun chen yi yu shi ji hui
Shu mu you wei ren ai xi.
Yun lai qi jie wu xia chang
Yue chu han tong xue shan bai.

Yi zuo lu rao jin ting dong
Xian zhu wu hou tong bi gong.
Cui wei zhi gan jiao yuan gu
Yao tiao dan qing hu you kong.

Luo luo pan ju sui dei di
Ming ming gu gao duo lie feng
Fu chi zi shi di ming li
Zheng zhi yuan yin zao hua gong.

Da sha ru qing yao liang dong
Wan niu hui shou qiu shan chong.
Bu lu wen zhang shi yi jing
Wei ci jian fa shei neng song?

Ku xin qi mian rong lou yi
Xiang ye zhong jing su luan feng
Zhi shi you ren mo yuan jie
Gu lai cai da nan wei yong!

Rows of Old Cypress Trees

Kong Ming temple has old cypress trees out front
Branches like patina copper, roots equal to rocks.
Frosty bark allows the rain to slide down, drip line the length of
forty people hand-in-hand
Top boughs the color of eyebrows, and extending two thousand feet
into the sky.

Zhu Geliang and Liu Bai met each other at the right time
These cultivated trees still loved and appreciated by many descendants.
Clouds arrive, their breath joins the long Wu Gorge
Moon rises cold, entire mountain range white with snow.

Recall in the past, one winter the highway passed by the Brocade Pavilion
Early noble military leaders in the same Bi Palace area.
Tree branches in the region very long and old
Painted red and green doors and windows gracefully remain clear.

Both of these shrines so remote, they remain natural and intact
The trees tall and dark, so the intense winds have twisted them.
They naturally help and facilitate spiritual powers
Their inner strength and success comes because of their innate natures.

Large, tall buildings must have strong roof beams and posts
Not even ten thousand oxen can leave their patty fields to push them away.
Implied meanings for society not in the open
Who can cut and trim these trees to send outside?

Troubled heart-minds can be free of the crickets and ants
Fragrant leaves fall to make luan feng bird nests
People of ideals and integrity in seclusion do not lament or blame
Old-growth trees very difficult to be made use of.



Kong Ming Temple: Also known as the Wu Temple. Built near the modern city of Chengdu, to commemorate Zhu Geliang and Liu Bai.

(Tree) drip line: The outermost circumference of a tree canopy where the water drips from the tree onto the ground.

Zhu Geliang: (181-234) Prime Minister during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280)

Liu Bai: (161-223) Emperor of the Shu kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period.

Wu Gorge: The second of the Three Gorges on the Changjiang (Yangzi River)

Brocade Pavilion: Also located in Sichuan.

Luan feng birds: A Chinese version of the phoenix.



Du Fu’s descriptions of the old trees very reminiscent of those of the Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi.

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